Track and field to honor national championship cross country teams

University Park, Pa. — Director of Track and Field and Head Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan and the Nittany Lion track and field teams will be honoring program history on Saturday (Jan. 8), recognizing members of the 1942, 1947, and 1950 NCAA Champion Cross Country squads, in conjunction with the teams' first indoor competition, the Penn State Relays. The "Banner Drop" ceremony is slated for approximately 12:30 p.m., on Saturday afternoon.

All three championship teams were coached by Charles "Chick" Werner, who led the Nittany Lions from 1933-1962. A recent United States Track and Field/Cross Country (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame inductee, Werner enjoyed outstanding success during his tenure at Penn State, including 14 top 10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, and eight IC4A team titles in cross country and track and field. Werner also guided 18 All-Americans in track and field, and 23 in cross country.

Werner's first NCAA victory came in 1942, when the Nittany Lions locked with Indiana in a 57-point tie on the campus of Michigan State. The result remains the only tie in NCAA cross country history. The Nittany Lions put three runners in the top 10 that year, with Norm Gordon in fifth place, Curt Stone in seventh, and Gerry Karver in ninth.

The Nittany Lions came out on top again in 1947, scoring 60 points to upend Syracuse in second with 72. Eventual Olympic Gold Medalist Horace Ashenfelter led the Nittany Lions individually with a runner-up finish, while Karver placed sixth overall.

Penn State captured its third and final title of the era in 1950, bettering runner-up Michigan State, 53-55. Bill Ashenfelter was the Lions' top finisher on the day in eighth, while Robert Freebairn finished 11th as Penn State's number-two man.

For more information on "Banner Drop" event, please contact Director of Track and Field Operations Jess Riden at (814) 863-2120.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011