Track and field teams begin postseason at Big Ten Indoor Championships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- An entire season of effort comes down to this weekend, as the Nittany Lion track and field squads are set to put it all on the line at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, set for Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-23), at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Both squads are poised to contend for outstanding finishes in the conference, led by Penn State's No. 7 ranked men's contingent.

The meet will be highly competitive on both sides, as the men's meet includes five squads ranked in the national top 15, while the women's competition will feature a pair of teams in the top 20 in the latest United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) rankings.

About the Big Ten Indoor Championships ...
When: Friday-Saturday, February 22-23
Where: SPIRE Institute (Geneva, Ohio)
Big Ten Coverage: www.BigTen.org
Ticket Information: www.SPIREinstitute.org
Live Results and Heat Sheets: www.lightningtiming.com

A bevy of Nittany Lions are in position to make a run at the medal stand, including junior Aaron Nadolsky (Altoona, Pa.), senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.), and sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who were all members of last year's winning men's distance medley. All three are also set up well individually, with Loxsom and Creese going in as the top seed in the 600 meters, and mile, respectively. Loxsom, who has won three Big Ten outdoor 800-meter crowns over his career, leads the conference, and the country in the event, thanks to an American collegiate record performance of 1:15.79 at the PSU National in January. The senior also leads the NCAA in the 800, having run a Penn State-record 1:46.98 last month.

Creese also stands at the top of the heap, blitzing to a school-record 3:57.11 for the mile during the Husky Classic at the University of Washington. Creese had a sensational Big Ten debut as a freshman a year ago, finishing third in the mile, and anchoring the winning DMR. He was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year for his efforts. Also on record-setting pace in 2013 is senior Sam Masters (Columbia, Mo.). Masters claimed a long-standing school record in the 3,000-meters in Washington, running 7:54.52. Masters' performance is the third best in the conference going into the weekend.

Including Loxsom and Creese, the Nittany Lion middle distance contingent stands to shine this weekend, boasting three of the top four seed times in the 800 meters. At the top of the list is freshman Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) at 1:48.17. Kidder is followed by teammates Ricky West (Toronto, Ontario) and Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.), who have run 1:48.92, and 1:49.03, this season, and currently stand in third and fourth on the Big Ten entry list.

Also entering the meet as the top seed is senior Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnatti, Ohio), who leads the conference in the women's 5,000 meters. Ridder cranked out a PR 16:07.52 at Washington, which stands as the best among Big Ten competitors, as well as a top 20 performance in the NCAA this season. Teammate Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) is on her heals, coming into the meet with a PR effort of 16:17.81 on the boards, which stands as the third-best seed time among entrants.

Representing the Nittany Lions as a top seed in the field events in senior Erika Morgan in the high jump. Morgan has topped out at 5-10.50 (1.79) this season, and leads a pack of several Nittany Lions in scoring position in the event. The Nittany Lion women have been outstanding in the field events this season, as junior Marlene Ricketts (Westbury, N.Y.) will head into the competition in podium position, thanks to a PR leap of 42-4.25 (12.86) in the triple jump, which ranks second in the conference.

The Nittany Lions have always enjoyed outstanding results in the sprints on the conference level, and this season will be no different, as sophomore Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) goes in with a PR performance of 53.87 in the 400 meters, which rates as the No. 2 time in the conference. Teammate Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) is also poised to make a splash in the sprints, with seed times of 7.38 in the 60-meters, and 23.64 in the 200-meters - both top three efforts in the Big Ten this season.

Action at the Big Ten Indoor Championships begins on Friday, and concludes on Saturday evening.

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Last Updated March 01, 2013