“We fought well all weekend. The senior class of ladies was outstanding. They fueled our passion with great performances,” said Director and Head Track and Field Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan. “I am proud of the win, my staff and our total program. Our men came together well and came so very close to a top five finish… three Big Ten champions and many, many amazing results for them. My thanks to my staff as they do a great job within this program. We will enjoy the moments and then regroup for NCAAs.”
In Big Ten Championships record fashion, sophomore Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) won the 400-meter hurdles in 56.40 and senior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) captured the 200 meter dash to help pace Penn State’s championship efforts. Jones was also runner-up in the 100 meters. Jones and Seymour teamed-up with junior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Michigan) and freshman Tichina Rhodes (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) for the victory in the last event of the day, the 4x400 relay. McGee also made it to the podium in 400 the meters with a third-place finish.
Prior to the final day of competition, seniors Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, New York) and Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pennsylvania) won titles in the hammer throw and heptathlon.
The men’s team celebrated three conference champions on the final day of competition, the first of which was sophomore Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania) in the javelin, throwing a 236-2. Junior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) used a throw of 67-6, which is second place all-time at Penn State, to win the shot put. Junior Steven Waithe (Parkville, Md.) notched the third Big Ten title of the day for the men, jumping a 15.85 meters to find victory in the triple jump after posting a fourth-place in the long jump on Saturday.
Both Penn State teams had several runner-up finishes, including senior Marta Klebe’s (Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania) school record-breaking run in the 1500 meters. Klebe’s 4:15.20 broke a 31-year old mark that was held by Doreen Startare. Redshirt-senior Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas) earned runner-up status in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.23. She was also fourth in the 400-meter hurdles for the Nittany Lions. The women's 4x100 put together a time of 44.64, earning runner-up status for freshman Danielle Gibson (Nassau, Bahamas), Jones, McGee and Seymour. The team’s run is fourth in Penn State history. On the men’s side, sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) ran a very tight race, narrowly missing a Big Ten championship in the 1500 and finishing as runner-up.
Numerous Nittany Lions pitched-in with points-scoring performance to help their respective teams. Junior Brian Leap (Bellwood, Pa.) jumped a lifetime best of 51-3.5 in the triple jump to finish third, while sophomore Za’Von Watkins (Liverpool, New York) finished fourth in the 800 meters with a time of 149.80. Junior Sancho Barrett (Amityville, New York) and junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania) both posted seventh-place finishes, Barrett in the 110 meter hurdles and Fischer in the 5000 meters. Senior Rusty Hedrick (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania) and freshman Cole Proffitt (Manheim, Pennsylvania) finished seventh and eighth in the javelin to add Suhey’s championship in the event. On the women’s side, freshman Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pennsylvania) finished in a three-way tie for seventh place, earning a point for the Nittany Lions’ championship run when every point counted. Gibson jumped a lifetime best 40-8.75 in the triple jump to take eighth place for another point.
The Big Ten outdoor title adds to Penn State’s haul this season, giving the Nittany Lions a school record-tying eighth Big Ten crown in 2013-14. The last time Penn State accomplished the feat was in 2012-13. The outdoor title is the ninth Big Ten championship overall (cross country, indoor or outdoor) for the program, all since 2004. Penn State’s women’s track & field team won both the indoor and outdoor championship this year, marking back-to-back outdoor titles for the team. The women’s team has also won a cross country championship in 2009, indoor championships in 2004 and 2010, and outdoor championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013.
The Nittany Lions have a week off before heading to NCAA East Regionals on May 29-31 in Jacksonville, Fla.
-PSU Athletic Communications
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