UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Freshman sensation Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) became just the third athlete in Penn State history to break the four-minute barrier in the mile run, Saturday (Feb. 11) at the Flotrack Husky Classic at the University of Washington. Creese was just one of a list of sensational performances by the Nittany Lions, as the teams concluded a weekend of action at the Husky Classic, Tyson Invitational at the University of Arkansas, and the Akron Invitational at the University of Akron.
Creese continues to ride the momentum of one of the most impressive freshman campaigns in recent memory, running 3:59.52 for the mile to finish second to Princeton’s Peter Callahan in Seattle. Creese’s effort is the second fastest in Penn State indoor history, trailing only Ryan Foster’s 3:58.49 from 2011. Creese joins Foster, as well as Larry Mangan, who ran 3:58.4 outdoors in 1980, as the only Nittany Lion to better the elusive barrier.
Also turning in a stellar effort in Washington was senior Caitlin Lane, who clocked a personal-best 9:15.16 to place eighth overall in the 3000 meters, and fifth among collegiate athletes. Lane’s performance is the third fastest in school history, and stands among the top three times in the Big Ten this season. Sophomore Bekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio) would also post a notable standing, placing third in her heat of the 800 meters in 2:07.28 – just off her personal best 2:06.91.
PR’s abounded throughout the Nittany Lion roster, including a career-best effort from Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) in the 3K, at 8:10.40 – good for third in his section of the event. Junior Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.) also ran well in the event, finishing in 8:11.19. Placing second in her heat of the 3K was junior Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.), who turned in a PR 9:45.44.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions would turn in numerous event victories at the Akron Invitational, led by junior Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.) in the men’s high jump, and freshman Brian Leap (Tyrone, Pa.) in the triple jump. Reilly cleared 6-9 (2.06) to take top honors in the high jump – his second event victory of the 2012 campaign. Leap, who turned in his first-career collegiate victory, picked up the victory in the "Gold Division" triple jump with an effort of 47-11 (14.60).
On the women’s side, senior Jane Swenson (Brandon, S.D.) brought home a victory in the women’s "Blue Division" 20-lb weight throw, thanks to a toss of 57-0 (17.37) – just three inches under her season best. Also performing well in the throws was sophomore Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.), who came away with top five finishes in both the "Gold Division" weight and shot put. The sophomore went 62-09.50 (19.14) in the weight, before coming back to place fifth in the shot put with a performance of 47-04.50 (14.44).
Senior Logan Caldwell (Ebensburg, Pa.) was the top place winner in the men’s throws, placing fifth in the "Gold Division" shot put with a throw of 55-11.25 (17.05). On the track in Akron, senior Chris Cipro (Harmony, Pa.) ran to a top five finish, taking fourth in the "Gold" 3000 with a finishing time of 8:31.12.
Senior Jocelyn Witmer (Lancaster, Pa.) added another top five standing to the performance list, placing fourth in the women’s "Gold" pole vault with a clearance of 12-08.25 (3.87).
In Arkansas, senior Hanif Johnson (Harrisburg, Pa.) led the way individually, placing seventh in the men’s triple jump with a final mark of 50-1.75 (15.28). Redshirt-freshman Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname) was the top finisher for the Nittany Lions on the track at Tyson, finishing 23rd in the 200 meters in 24.27. Redshirt-sophomore Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) was the next best Nittany Lion, placing 30th in the event in 24.43.
The Nittany Lions will take next weekend off in preparation for the Big Ten Championships, which are set for February 24-25, in Lincoln, Neb.