University Park, Pa. — Standout sprinter Shana Cox (Westbury, N.Y.) and junior jumper Clarence Smith (Coatesville, Pa.), have both added yet another award to their already overflowing trophy cases on Tuesday, earning Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors. Cox garners the award for the second-straight week, the third time of the outdoor season, and the fourth time in 2008, while Smith, the Big Ten triple jump champion indoors, earns the first conference nod of his career. Cox led a productive afternoon for the Nittany Lions at last weekend's Jesse Owens Classic at Ohio State, winning three events in season-best efforts, while Smith notched a career-best mark in the triple jump.
Cox posted wins in the 200-meters, 400-meters, and the 4x100-meters on the day, bettering Big Ten competition in all three events. Cox, along with teammates Shavon Greaves (Lakewood, N.J.), Aleesha Barber (Decatur, Ga.), and Dominique Blake (Bronx, N.Y.) combined to run a 2008-best 45.78 in the 400-meter relay, which was good for a victory on the afternoon, as well as the third-fastest time in the conference this season. Individually, Cox sped to a season-low 52.45 in the quarter mile, better the field by well over a second. Cox, who earned runner-up honors in the 400 at the NCAA Championships last spring, is currently ranked first in the Big Ten and sixth nationally. Cox followed up her 400 win with another victory in the 200, clocking a season-best 23.36, also a Big Ten best. The Lions tore up the 200s overall, winning four of five heats of the event.
Smith soared to a personal-best 52-02.75 (15.92) in the triple jump - adding nearly a foot and a half to his previous PR, and bettering the field by two feet. Smith's big PR is the fourth-best jump in school history, and is 13th-best mark in the NCAA this season. Smith is also ranked fourth in the East Region. Teammate Ryan Taylor (Spanish Town, Jamaica) added a regional-qualifying 49-05 (15.06) to finish fourth, while Jay Pagana (Selinsgrove, Pa.) took fifth with a leap of 48-11.75 (14.93).
Cox, Smith, and the rest of the Nittany Lions will compete at home this weekend, hosting the Penn State Open on May 10. The Lions will then hit the conference trail, competing at the Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill., on May 16-18.