Track and field begins postseason at Big Ten Championships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --Looking to carry the momentum from an already impressive outdoor campaign, the Nittany Lion track and field squads will go full steam into postseason action this weekend, competing at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships at Ohio State University.

The No. 11 Nittany Lion men's team - coming off a third-place conference finish indoors - will be in a dog fight for the team title, entering the weekend as one of five Big Ten programs in the USTFCCCA Top 25.

Penn State will also look to contend for another impressive finish on the women's side, boasting 10-straight top four finishes at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Standing in the way will be reigning conference indoor champion Illinois, which currently stands at No. 20 in the national outdoor rankings.

About the Big Ten Championships ...
When:
Friday-Sunday, May 10-12, 2013
Where: Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium (Ohio State University)
Meet Information: www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com
Live Results: www.pttiming.com

The Nittany Lions are at no loss for experience in Big Ten action with a pair of individual conference champions returning from a year ago in senior Casimir Loxsom (New Haven, Conn.) and junior Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.). Loxsom, who has won three-straight outdoor Big Ten crowns at 800 meters, is the favorite once again in 2013, has run 1:46.77 - the current conference leader - this season. The senior has been on an impressive roll all spring, including a Track Athlete of the Relays nod at the prestigious Penn Relays Carnival, where he helped the Lions to a pair of relay victories.

Loxsom is joined in the middle distances by standout sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) and freshman phenom Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio). Creese - last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year - currently leads the conference 1500 meters at 3:41.32, and has impressed against Big Ten competition all season, taking top honors in the mile and anchoring the winning distance medley at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Kidder - the reigning Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year - has shown sensational range in 2013, putting up season bests of 1:47.23 for 800, and 3:42.07 for 1500 this spring. Both Creese and Kidder joined Loxsom on the winning distance medley and 4x800-meter relay at Penn.

Loht - the returning champion in the women's javelin - is a member of one of Penn State's strongest event contingents, along with 2012 Big Ten silver medalist Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.). The duo currently rank first and second among conference competitors, with Kenney leading the way 176-11 (53.93). Loht isn't far behind, thanks to a toss of 166-3 (50.68), at the Jim Thorpe Open last weekend.

Also in position to make a splash at the championships is sophomore Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.). Hill - in his first year with the Nittany Lions - is the top seed in the men's shot put, thanks to a season-best toss of 62-9.25 (19.13). The Nittany Lions have been on a roll in the shot put in recent years, with Blake Eaton capturing outdoor crowns in 2010 and 2011, and Joe Kovacs keeping up the Penn State streak in 2012. William Barr (Urbana, Ohio) has also been at the top of his game in the throws in 2013, sitting fifth going into the conference hammer competition at 207-10 (63.35).

The Nittany Lions will also look for strong results in the distances, led by senior Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.). Bower is the No. 3 seed in the 3000-meter steeplechase at 10:13.58. Also set to fare well in the endurance events is senior Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio), who leads all conference competitors in the 5,000-meters at 16:11.93. 

Contacts: 
Last Updated May 09, 2013