UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Already boasting outstanding indoor seasons, the Nittany Lion men’s and women’s track and field team will look to carry its success into Devaney Indoor Track Center, this weekend at the Big Ten Track and Field Championships at the University of Nebraska. This year’s version on the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships will be historic for a number of reasons, in that this weekend’s championship will be the first combined men’s and women’s meet at the conference level, as well as host Nebraska’s first track and field appearance.
About the Meet -
When: Friday-Saturday, February 24-25
Where: Devaney Indoor Track (University of Nebraska)
Host Website: www.Huskers.com
Conference Website: www.BigTen.org
Coverage: Big Ten Network (Sat., March 10 at 1:30 p.m.)
As been the Lions’ calling card in Big Ten action over the past several years, the Blue and White will provide a balanced attack, with potential point scorers across all event areas. The Nittany Lions, ranked No. 18 in the latest USTFCCCA men’s rankings, will also travel a seasoned group of conference veterans into Lincoln, while also fielding some top-notch talent from their freshman class.
Thus far in 2012, the Nittany Lions have a seen an extensive list of sensational efforts, including school-record runs by Caitlin Lane (Greenwich, N.Y.), Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) and the women’s distance medley. Creese, who is just a freshman, has been thoroughly impressive throughout the first six weeks of the indoor season, setting a collegiate record in the 1000 meters at 2:19.53, and becoming just the third Nittany Lion in program history to break the 4:00 barrier in the mile run with an effort of 3:59.52 earlier this month.
Lane, the Big Ten Champion in cross country, and the Nittany Lion distance contingent, are poised to make a splash in their event area, as Lane clocked a speedy 9:15.46 for the 3,000 meters earlier this month – the third-fastest performance in school history – while classmate Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) posted a PR 16:06.82 for 5000 meters, also third best in the Penn State record books. Also running well has been Bekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio). Simko, along with Lane, Ije Iheoma (Holland, Pa.), and Millhouse, combined to set a school-record 11:05.16 – the second-fastest performance in the Big Ten, while her season-best 2:06.91 is ranked No. 2.
On the men’s side, the underclass quartet of Wade Endress (Altoona, Pa.), Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), Connor Manley (Jamison, Pa.), and Creese combined to run 9:35.24 for the distance medley, which ranks fourth in Division I.
The Nittany Lions will also travel a powerful sprints and hurdles crew, with the likes of Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) and Kirsten Nieuwendam (Parimaribo, Suriname) on the women’s side, and Nadolsky and Brandon Bennett-Green (Elkins Park, Pa.) pacing the men’s squad. Jones and Niewendam rate second and fourth in the conference in the 200 meters, with efforts of 23.68, and 23.76, respectively. Meanwhile, Nadolsky and Bennett-Green both enter the weekend with top five efforts in the Big Ten 400 meters at 47.08, and 47.16. The Lions also have a pair of returning Big Ten champions in their sprints core in Iheoma and Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.), who were both members of the conference-winning 4×400-meter relay a year ago. Covering the women’s hurdles will be Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas), who currently ranks second in the conference in the 60 sticks at 8.20.
Leading the way in the field events will be junior Sean Reilly (Lagrangeville, N.Y.), whose PR clearance of 7-1.75 (2.18) is tied for the second-best mark in the conference in the high jump. Reilly already has Big Ten success on his resume, placing third in the event at the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Also coming off of trips to the medal stand during the outdoor conference meet are horizontal jumpers Doug Moppert (Malvern, Pa.) in the long jump, and Hanif Johnson (Harrisburg, Pa.), and Tanaya Lloyd (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the men’s and women’s triple jump, respectively.
Action in Lincoln begins on Friday with the men’s heptathlon and women’s pentathlon. For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log on to www.GoPSUsports.com.