April 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Continuing to compete
As the semester comes to a close for Penn State students, the student-athletes on the track and field team are hoping to continue to run, jump and throw for at least another month.
As most of the team’s runners look to compete all day today, tomorrow, and Saturday at Philadelphia’s annual Penn Relays, the team will host one final meet, their first home event since indoor season in early February, on Friday, May 3.
After this, the Nittany Lions will continue to practice, before competing in the Big Ten Outdoor championships the following weekend, in Columbus, Ohio.
As the Big Ten’s arrive, the athletes on the team will have a simple goal: to keep on competing as long as they can. The preliminaries for the east coast of the NCAA Outdoor Championships will continue through late May, and the NCAA Championships, in Eugene, Ore., will take place June 5-8.
The team already has some athletes (Lauren Kenney, Mike Shuey, Marlene Ricketts) who have qualified for spots in the first round of NCAAs, and they only hope to continue to have athletes qualify for spots, and chances to get to Oregon.
Careers coming to a close
As the season and year come to a close, standout seniors will be finishing up their collegiate careers.
Casimir Loxsom, who has been one of the elite runners in the NCAA this season and for the better part of his four year career, will be entering his final races as a Penn State runner.
Emanuel Mpanduki, the native of Zimbabwe, will also be racing in his final events as a Nittany Lion.
The many other seniors amongst the Penn State team will all be looking to make one final big mark as they close out their careers, with everyone’s goals being success in Columbus, and eventually, in Oregon.
Youngsters stepping up
As some of those seniors depart, added pressure will be on the younger players to step up and become leaders.
Brothers Bernard and Brandon Bennett-Green will be seniors next season, and will likely be looking to take on larger leadership roles as the departing Mpanduki and Loxsom leave.
Ryan Brennan and Robby Creese will be juniors next season, and they too will be looking to continue their strong success at the collegiate level, and gain more of a leadership presence.
Finally, this year’s team featured a couple of freshman phenoms, in Brannon Kidder and Za’Von Watkins. Both either broke or challenged collegiate records in individual races and relays throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons.
As they move on to their sophomore years, should only be looking to improve themselves, and begin to scratch the surface of their massive upside and potential, given their three remaining years of eligibility.
April 14, 2013 at 3:52 PM
This weekend, Penn State split its track and field team between the LSU Invitational- Battle at the Bayou, hosted by LSU, and the Bison Outdoor Classic, at Bucknell.
LSU Invitational-Battle at the Bayou
The men and women sent to the LSU Invitational-Battle at the Bayou both finished in second place for the event.
Standouts included sophomore Darrell Hill, who won the shotput with a personal best, which was also good for the No. 3 ranking in the event nationally.
Other winners at LSU included redshirt junior Mahogany Jones in the 100-meter dash, along with setting her personal best in the 200-meter dash.
Sophomore Brian Leap won the long jump event, and was the top collegiate in the triple-jump.
The Nittany Lions finished only behind LSU on both sides.
Bison Outdoor Classic-Bucknell University
The competition at the Bison Outdoor Classic officially will wrap up later this afternoon, but the Nittany Lions already have a lot to be proud of in Lewisburg.
Sophomore Robby Creese, always dangerous in distance events, set a facility record in the 1500-meter race, leading a 1-2-3-4 finish of Penn State runners in the event.
Meanwhile, junior Marta Klebe also was victorious for Penn State on the women’s side of the same event, and senior Natalie Bower was victorious in the 3,000-meter steeple chase.
April 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM
It looks like warm weather and winning might have a positive correlation for the Penn State track and field team.
The Nittany Lion women won their first major, scored outdoor event of the season Saturday, along with getting nine event wins overall for the meet at the Crimson Tide Invitational in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Leading the charge for the women was javelin thrower Lauren Kenney. Kenney, who finished fourth nationally in 2012, threw a 176-11 (53.93) on her first attempt of the season, which was good for best of the meet, second best in the NCAA this season, and second best Penn State throw of all-time. Her teammate, Laura Loht, took second place to make it a clean sweep for the women in the javelin throw.
Another member of the women’s team who had a strong weekend was Marlene Ricketts, who was victorious in the women’s triple jump as well as anchoring the victorious women’s 4x400 relay.
Kiah Seymour, Melissa Kurzdorfer, and Evone Britton were among a few others who saw success on the women’s team’s largely successful weekend.
The men were led led by freshman Brannon Kidder, who saw his strong indoor season transfer to the outdoor season, as he was victorious in the men’s 800 meter dash with a time of 1:47.71, a personal best and the second fastest in the NCAA this spring.
The men’s 4x400, a race which has been successful all year long, dating back to the start of indoor season, won once again, as Casimir Loxsom, Bernard Bennett-Green, Emanuel Mpanduki, and Aaron Nadolsky did what they do, and sped around the track in a blistering 3:07.31. That time was the fifth fastest in school history.
The team will return to action and look to build on its success next weekend, splitting the squads between the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell, and the Battle on the Bayou at LSU.
March 31, 2013 at 2:08 PM
After a long time off, Penn State finally kicked off its track and field outdoor season this weekend in Palo Alto, Calif., at the Stanford Invitational.
The Nittany Lions sent seven long distance competitors to Stanford to compete this weekend, and all seven performed admirably, with each participant posting a personal best.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Fischler headlined the weekend for the men’s side. Fischler posted a lifetime best 14:01:23 in the 5000-meter run, which was 10th in his section, and was the highest finish for any participating Big Ten runner.
Senior Tyler Corkedale and junior Nick Scarpello also ran personal bests in the 5000-meter run.
The Lions were also successful on the women’s side, as senior Natalie Bower and freshman Tori Gerlach also saw personal bests in the 5000.
Junior Emily Giannotti also saw a successful event, as she ran a 34:54.26 in her first 10,000 meter run, which was good for 10th place on the Penn State all-time record list.
Sophomore Abbie Benson also set a personal best in her event, the 3000-meter steeplechase.
The Lions will return to action next week, on April 6, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. as they look for success in the Crimson Tide Invitational.
March 28, 2013 at 3:49 PM
After about a month away from competition, the Penn State track and field team will finally compete in its first outdoor meet of the season this weekend, as it travels to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the Stanford Invitational.
The team, which last competed at the Spire Collegiate Invitational in Geneva, Ohio, and the Washington Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash., before competing in season-ending meets for the Big Ten on Feb 22-23 (in Geneva) and the NCAAs on March 8-9 (in Fayetteville, Ark.), is traveling to Stanford to allow a contingent of both teams to return to action.
For some, the return is a long time coming.
The javelin throwing faction, featuring 2012 NCAA third and fourth place finishers Laura Loht and Lauren Kenney, will be competing for the first time since last May, as javelin is only thrown during the outdoor season.
Not all of the athletes will be competing at Stanford this weekend, as really only long distance runners will make the trip.
However, the event marks the true beginning of the outdoor track season.
The season is not beginning without lofty expectations. United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches’ Association preseason rankings rank both the men’s and women’s teams in the top 25 nationally.
February 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM
With a strong day one performance under its belt, the men’s team turned its momentum into a third place Big Ten finish Saturday, on the heels of some impressive individual performances.
Sophomore Robby Creese, freshman Brannon Kidder, and senior Casimir Loxsom paced the team with their three individual victories.
Loxsom stole the show, winning the men’s 600-meter in record setting fashion. His time of 1:15.42 is a new Penn State record, a new Big Ten record and the fastest time ever run by an American.
Creese, after anchoring Penn State’s Big Ten Champion distance medley relay on Friday, continued his championship caliber weekend by winning the mile run with a time of 4:01.51 to bring home Penn State’s first Big Ten championship in the mile.
Kidder, also a member of the Penn State distance medley relay, brought home Penn State’s fifth 800-meter Big Ten title in the last six years with a time of 1:49.73.
Penn State’s total of 87 points was just three off of Wisconsin’s Big Ten Championship total of 90.
The Nittany Lion women also put forth a solid team effort to amass a total of 73 points on the weekend, good for a fourth place finish.
Juniors Mahagony Jones and Marlene Rickets paved the way for the Lions, earning silver medals on Saturday in the 60-meter dash and the triple jump respectively.
Jones had a busy weekend and earned points in both events she competed in. Jones finished second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.42, and fourth in the 200 meters with a time of 23.56.
Ricketts turned in a lifetime-best 42-04.75 in the triple jump for a second place finish. Her effort is good for second best in the Penn State record books.
Jones and Ricketts were backed by a number of top five finishes in track events as well as a fifth place finish from junior captain Melissa Kurzdorfer in the weight throw.
Illinois took home the women’s Big Ten Team Championship with a point total of 115 edging out second place Wisconsin by just three points.
Full men's and women's 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships results can be found here.
February 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM
The men’s and women’s contingents of the Penn State track and field team both got off to great starts Friday evening at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio.
The Nittany Lion men showed up in great form Friday, as many advanced to Saturday’s finals in their individual events, in addition to some big achievements in the group events.
"We had a near perfect day on the men's competition," coach Beth Alford-Sullivan said of her men’s team in a press release.
For the second straight year, the men took the distance medley relay at the Big Ten championships, with a foursome of Brannon Kidder, Matt Gilmore, Ryan Brennan, and Robby Creese.
In addition to winning the distance medley, Kidder and Brennan were two of the four participants in the 800-meter dash to advance to Saturday’s final, the others being freshman Za’Von Watkins and senior Ricky West.
Creese, as well as senior Tyler Corkdale also both advanced to Saturday’s final in the mile-run.
Lastly, junior Brandon Bennett-Green and senior Emunael Mpanduki advanced to the final for the 400-meter dash, and sophomore Sancho Barrett advanced to Saturday’s 60-meter hurdle final.
The Wisconsin men are currently leading the pack with 39 points after five events. The Nittany Lion men are in seventh place with 13 points.
The women’s team also got off to a hot start, including strong performances from senior Jane Swenson, juniors Melissa Kurzdorfer, Marlene Ricketts, and Brittney Howell, as well as junior Mahogany Jones.
"Our ladies showed up in championship form," Sullivan said. “I look forward to another Big Ten battle."
The women’s distance medley relay team of Abbie Benson, Dynasty McGee, Sarah Jane Underwood, and Marta Klebe finished fifth, but set a season-best time of 11:21.39, which also stands as the fifth fastest in Penn State history.
The true standout of the preliminaries on Friday evening was the sprints and hurdles group, which had Jones, set a personal record of 23.47 in the 200-meter dash. Jones will be competing in the finals for that event, as well as the 60-meter dash during Saturday’s finals. Teammates Kiah Seymour and Kirsten Nieuwendam will join Jones in competing in the 200-meter dash final.
Shelley Black, a freshman, advanced to the finals for the 60-meter hurdle, after achieving a personal record of 8.45 on Friday.
The Nebraska women are leading the early points race, with 50 points after six events completed. The Lion women are currently in sixth place with 19 points.
February 9, 2013 at 6:24 PM
A few weeks after comprising half of Penn State’s collegiate record 4x200 relay team, Brandon Bennett-Green and Matt Gilmore kicked off the first day of action in Geneva, Ohio, posting season-best numbers in the 200-meter dash.
Depending on their event, the Lions are split this week competing either in Geneva, Ohio, or Seattle, Washington.
Gilmore and Bennett-Green led an array of Penn State successes Friday at the SPIRE Division I Invitational, at the SPIRE Institute. Bennett-Green, a junior, posted his season best time of 21.66, and Gilmore, a sophomore, posted his season best time of 21.73. Bennett-Green and Gilmore both won their respective heats, and finished second and third in the event overall.
Other notable times of Day 1 included senior Brooklyne Ridder, who ran a personal best 16:07.52 in the elite “invitational” women’s 5000M run in Seattle. This time was good for fourth on Penn State’s all time performance list, and was the fastest time in the Big Ten for this year. Her time here was more than seven seconds faster than her previous personal record, and more than 20 seconds faster than her previous indoor career low.
The Nittany Lions continue their action in Seattle and Geneva on Saturday.
February 2, 2013 at 8:50 PM
The Penn State track and field team put up an impressive showing at the Sykes and Sabock Challenge Cup, the team’s first scored meet of the season.
The meet, which was held at the Horace Ashenfelter III indoor track on Saturday, was highlighted by a number of standout performances from Penn State.
Arizona State graduate and 2012 Olympian Ryan Whiting smashed a facility record which lasted for 23 years. Whiting, who is a volunteer assistant for the team, had a shot put throw of 70-10, which marked the first time anybody bested 70 feet in the facility. Whiting topped the long-standing record by a total of five feet and three inches. The previous best was 65-7 by CJ Hunter in 1990.
Junior Mahagany Jones also made her mark at the meet, winning both the 60 and 200-meter dashes. The Ohio native accomplished the feat with times of 7.40 and 23.64, respectively. Jones’ performance at the meet lead to her winning the first annual John Lucas women’s Athlete of the Meet.
Redshirt freshman Robby Creese garnered the men’s version of the award after earning victories in both the 800-meter dash and the distance medley relay. Creese’s 800-meter time of 1:49.13 is ranked in the top 15 in the NCAA this season.
Both the men and women were able to secure victories in the weight-throwing events at the meet. On the women’s side, junior Melissa Kurzdorfer finished first in the 20-lb weight throw with a toss of 64-11.50. The mark bested Kurzdorfer’s previous best of 64-10.50. Those two throws rank as the third and fourth best marks in school history.
For the 35-lb weight throw, redshirt junior William Barr and senior Nabil Mubarik finished first and second, respectively. Barr threw a 66-05.00, which ranks second all-time in school history. Mubarik’s 64-11.50 moves him into a tie for fifth place on the school’s all-time list.
Senior Natalie Bower also found her way onto the Penn State record books by running the 2,000 steeplechase in 6:29.38. The time set a meet and facility record.
January 26, 2013 at 8:42 PM
The track and field team had a productive weekend to say the least at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor track facility, hosting the annual Penn State National meet. The team picked up a few records, and had many members of the team pick up personal, facility, and collegiate bests in different categories.
Friday’s action was headlined by the men’s foursome of Emunael Mpanduki, Matt Gilmore, Brandon Bennett-Green, and Aaron Nadolsky, who set a collegiate record for the 4x200 meter relay. Their time of 1:24.70 beat the prior record holder, Rutgers, who had a time of 1:25.05, set in 2007.
There were also records set by the field contingent of the team. Junior Will Barr had a school record of 67-3.50 (20.51) in the weight throw, which is also the second best in the NCAA this year.
Mahagony Jones, Sancho Barrett, Brittney Howell, and Emily Giannotti each also picked up either an event victory, or set a personal best for their event.
On Saturday, the Lions picked up where they left off on Friday as they continued winning events and setting records.
Casimir Loxsom was at it again, as he demolished the competition in the 600 meter dash, finishing with a time of 1:15.79. That time was only slightly above the American 600 record, which had been set mere hours earlier.
Freshman Brannon Kidder became the fourth Penn Stater, and the seventh consecutive Penn State National participant to break a four-minute mile, as he led the pack with a time of 3:59.48.
Twins Bernard and Brandon Bennett-Green picked up a win each in their respective heats of the 400-meter dash.
The field also had notable results, as Marlene Ricketts won the women’s triple jump, and set a personal record with a 42-2.25 (12.86). Sean Reilly also was a victor in the men’s high jump.
Penn State class of 2007 alum and 2012 Olympian Shana Cox returned to her home track, and won the invitational women’s 400-meter dash.
The meet ended on a bit of a down-note for the Nittany Lions, as the men's 4x400 meter relay “JoePA Inv” team of Mpunduki, Bennett-Green, Bennett-Green, and Luxsom that otherwise likely would have set a record, accidentally dropped the relay baton near the end of the race, and was forced to take a DNF for the event.