Alford-Sullivan named Big Ten Coach of the Year

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After leading the Nittany Lion women's track and field squad to its fourth Big Ten Outdoor Championship in the last six years, Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year, announced by the conference office on Tuesday (May 14). Sullivan led a sensational effort from the Nittany Lions last weekend, including individual victories by redshirt junior Mahagony Jones (Cleveland, Ohio) in the 100 meters, redshirt-junior Evonne Britton (El Paso, Texas) in the 100-meter hurdles, and sophomore Lauren Kenney (State College, Pa.) in the javelin.

"It's an honor to be selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year," said Sullivan. "It's an award that certainly recognizes the work of our entire coaching staff. Our collective efforts led us to this championship."

The Nittany Lion women turned in a grand total of nine podium finishes on the weekend, led by Jones, who made a pair of trips to the medal stand, taking top honors in the 100, as well as a runner-up finish in the 200 meters. Also turning in runner-up finishes were junior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) in the 1500 meters, freshman Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) in the 400-meter hurdles, junior Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) in the hammer, and junior Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.) in the javelin.

The Nittany Lions were propelled by prolific scoring performances in both the javelin and 400-meter hurdles, while the Blue and White accumulating a grand total of 23 points in the javelin, and 17 in the quarter hurdles. Led by a one-two punch from Kenney and Loht, the Nittany Lions also got scoring performances from Melanie Leszcynski (Audobon, Pa.), and Megan Boyer (Millersburg, Pa.) in fifth and eighth, respectively. Meanwhile, Seymour paced a stellar performance from the Lion hurdlers, which included fourth-place finish from Britton, as well as a fifth-place effort from Shelley Black (Laflin, Pa.).

Sullivan, who has earned a grand total of 27 "Coach of the Year" citations over her decorated career, guided Penn State to its seventh Big Ten title in program history, to go along with conference victories in outdoor track in 2008, 2009, and 2010, an indoor win in 2010, and a conference cross country title in 2009. In fact, Sullivan has earned three "Coach of the Year" trophies in 2012-13 alone, winning USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Women's Coach of the Year during the fall cross country season, as well as USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Men's Coach of the Year during the 2013 indoor campaign. Sullivan has overseen a total of 84 individual Big Ten Champions over her career, as well as 17 conference-winning relays.

The Nittany Lions, who currently stand at No. 27 in the USTFCCCA national rankings, totaled 133 points over the three-day competition, enough to better defending indoor champion and current national No. 18 Illinois in second place with 120. Ohio State and Michigan placed fourth and fifth with 86 and 82, respectively, while Michigan State rounded out the top five with 76.

Following a weekend off, the Nittany Lions will be back in action at the NCAA Eastern Preliminary Round, set for May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C. 

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Last Updated May 17, 2013