Cross country welcomes 12 harriers for 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- With the cross country season already under way for many teams across the nation, Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan has announced the addition of 12 newcomers to the 2013 Nittany Lion roster. The outstanding contingent of newcomers will add depth to two already talented Nittany Lion squads, including women's team captains Emily Giannotti (Coudersport, Pa.), Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa.), and Rebekka Simko (Mentor, Ohio), as well as men's captains Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Nick Scarpello (Jamison, Pa.).

"We had another nice recruiting class join us this fall," said Director and Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan. "All these athletes have great high school marks, and certainly have the potential to become outstanding collegiate distance runners."

On the women's side, the Nittany Lion will welcome Pennsylvania standouts Stephanie Aldrich (West Chester, Pa.) and Julie Kocjancic (Pittsburgh, Pa.), as well as Ohio product Meghan Vogel (West Liberty, Ohio), and West Coast competitor Cara Ulizio (Redondo Beach, Calif.).

The men's class is led by 2012 Footlocker Cross Country Finalist Austin Pondel (Corry, Pa.), as well as former PIAA State Champions Conner Quinn (Horsham, Pa.), and Curtis Jewett (Rome, Pa.). Also joining the Nittany Lion ranks in 2013 are in-state products Jonathan Colwell (Centre Hall, Pa.), Jordan Crawford (Lemoyne, Pa.), Ean DiSilvio (Pittsburgh, Pa.), and Robert Hill (Wellsboro, Pa.). Ohio standout John Miller (Bay Village, Ohio) rounds out the Lions' 2013 distance signing class.

The Nittany Lions begin the 2013 campaign on Friday, traveling to the annual Dolan Duals at Lock Haven University. Races are scheduled to get underway at 6:00 p.m.

Cross Country Newcomer Profiles

Stephanie Aldrich || West Chester, Pa. (Henderson)

Aldrich's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:59.90, Mile - 5:02.77, 3000m - 10:09.88

Aldrich has been a standout on the Pennsylvania distance scene over the past several seasons, recently taking runner-up honors in the mile at the PTFCA Indoor Championships, thanks to a personal-best 5:02.75. Aldrich enjoyed an outstanding indoor season overall this winter, also clocking a lifetime-best 10:09.88 for 3,000-meters - a top 10 time in Pennsylvania in 2013. The West Chester, Pa., native was also a force in cross country this past fall, finishing sixth overall at the PIAA State Championships as the top placing senior at the event. In fact, Aldrich has a pair of top 10 PIAA finishes to her credit, having finished ninth at the state meet as a junior in 2011.

Julie Kocjancic || Pittsburgh, Pa. (Mount Lebanon)

Kocjancic's Personal Bests: 800m - 2:15.78

Kocjancic qualified for the Pennsylvania State Championships in the 800 meters during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2013, and also finished sixth in the event at the PIAA District VII Championships. Kocjancic was a three-time state qualifier in cross country, helping her team to a fifth-place finish in 2012. Kocjancic was also a part of Mount Lebanon's eighth-place squad at the 2011 state championships.

Cara Ulizio || Redondo Beach, Calif. (Redondo Union)

Ulizio's Personal Bests 800m - 2:14.00, 1500m - 4:35.22, 1600m - 4:51.74, 3200m - 10:53.03

Ulizio comes to Happy Valley all the way from Redondo Beach, Calif., and brings an impressive resume of accomplishments from her prep career. Ulizio ended her high-school career with a seventh-place finish in the 1600 meters at the CIF State Championships, where she posted a lifetime-best 4:51.74. As a senior, Ulizio clocked a lifetime-best 10:53.29 for the 3200m, placing 10th at the elite Arcadia Invitational. On the cross country course, Ulizio placed 12th in the CIF Cross Country Championships, helping her team to a sixth-place finish at the state's Division 2 level.

Meghan Vogel || West Liberty, Ohio (West Liberty-Salem)

Vogel's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:58.31

Another Ohio standout, Vogel captured top honors in the mile at the OATCCC Indoor State Championships this winter. The victory was the second Ohio state gold for Vogel, who won the Ohio State outdoor 1600 title as a junior in 2012, via a PR of 4:58.31. She also enjoyed a career-best finish cross country this fall, finishing fifth overall at the Ohio state meet. Vogel made national headlines last outdoor season when she stopped mid-race to assist an injured competitor across the finish line at the OHSAA State Championships. She was named USATF Athlete of the Week for her outstanding display of sportsmanship.

Jon Colwell || Reedsville, Pa. (Mifflin County)

Colwell's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:19.57, 3000m - 8:41.99

A three-time PIAA qualifier in cross country and two-time state qualifier on the track, Colwell will come to Penn State from nearby Mifflin County High School. Colwell was a three-time District 6 Champion as a senior, winning the District title in cross country and picking up victories in both the 1600 and 3200 during the outdoor season. Colwell has already enjoyed success on the Penn State campus, winning the 3000 at the 2013 Kevin Dare HS Invitational. He would go on to place sixth in the event at the 2013 PTFCA Indoor State Championships, thanks to a PR effort of 8:41.99.

Jordan Crawford || Lemoyne, Pa. (Cedar Cliff)

Crawford's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:25.97, 3200m - 9:32.35

Crawford was a two-time PIAA state qualifier in cross country while competing for Cedar Cliff High School. As a senior, Crawford finished second at the Cumberland County Cross Country Championships and went on to a 10th-place finish at the PIAA District 3 Championships.

Ean DiSilvio || Pittsburgh, Pa. (Taylor Allderdice)

DiSilvio's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:26.01, 3200m - 9:36.71

A two-time PIAA state qualifier on the track, DiSilvio picked up a pair of victories at the PIAA District 8 AAA Championships as a senior, winning both the 1600 and 3200. DiSilvio placed 18th in the 3200 at the 2013 PIAA Outdoor Championships. Also a three-time state qualifier as well as a two-time District 8 Champion in cross country, DiSilvio finished 21st as a junior, and 25th as a senior at the state level.

Robert Hill || Wellsboro, Pa. (Wellsboro)

Hill's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:19.34

Hill excelled during his career at Wellsboro Area, qualifying for the PIAA State Cross Country Championships on two occasions, and ending his prep competition with an appearance at the outdoor state championships. Hill placed seventh at the PIAA State Championships in the 1600 meters as a senior.

Curtis Jewett || Rome, Pa. (Northeast Bradford)

Jewett's Personal Bests: 800m - 1:57.64, 1600m - 4:16.03, 3200m - 9:33.80

Jewett will join the Nittany Lions this fall after capturing top honors in the AA 800 at the 2013 PIAA Outdoor Championships. Along with his state victory, Jewett enjoyed some outstanding finishes as a senior, placing second in the "Emerging Elite" boys mile at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, and finishing eighth in the event at the prestigious Penn Relays Carnival. A multiple-time PIAA District 4 Champion, and a standout at the state level over the past several seasons, Jewett finished fourth at the PIAA A Cross Country Championships as a senior, helping his Northeast Bradford teammates to a state title. Jewett was also the PIAA AA runner up in the 1600 as a junior.

Jack Miller || Bay Village, Ohio (St. Ignatius)

Miller's Personal Bests: 1,600m - 4:25.34, 3,200m - 9:22.41

Miller enjoyed an outstanding career at St. Ignatius, ending with a 10th-place finish in the 3200m at the Ohio State Championships as a senior. Miller was a two-time state qualifier in cross country, posting a 13th-place finish as a senior in 2012. Miller's finish helped propel St. Ignatius to a third-place finish in the team standings.

Austin Pondel || Corry, Pa. (Corry Area)

Pondel's Personal Bests: 2012 Footlocker Finalist, 3200m - 9:33.80

A Footlocker National qualifier, Pondel will bring a great deal of cross country success to Happy Valley this fall. Following an individual victory at the District 10 Cross Country Championships in 2012, Pondel would go on to capture all-state honors, thanks to a third-place finish at the PIAA AAA Championships. The Corry, Pa., product, posted an impressive winning streak as a senior, winning all eight of his cross country competitions up until the state championships. Pondel was also the 2013 District 10 Champion in the 3200, and would qualify for the state meet in the event.

Conner Quinn || Horsham, Pa. (Hatboro-Horsham)

Quinn's Personal Bests: 1600m - 4:21.50, 3000m - 8:34.78, 3200m - 9:17.83

The PIAA AAA State Cross Country Champion in 2011, Quinn posted an outstanding career at Hatboro-Horsham, as a two-time state qualifier in both cross country and track and field. Quinn capped his high school career with a ninth-place finish in the 3200 meters at the 2013 PIAA State Outdoor Championships. Quinn also qualified to compete in the elite Penn Relays 3000-meter race in 2013, where he would finish 15th overall.

For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log on to www.GoPSUsports.com.

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Last Updated September 05, 2013