Track and field to send 12 to NCAA Outdoor Championships

June 05, 2009
University Park, Pa. — Just over a week away from the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the NCAA released its list of accepted entries this afternoon, which includes 12 Nittany Lion athletes. The Championships are set for June 10-13, at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Fawn Dorr (Akron, N.Y.) and Shavon Greaves (Lakewood, N.J.) will lead the Lions in the sprints, after both athletes received automatic-qualifying bids at the NCAA East Regional Championships in Greensboro, N.C., last weekend. Dorr will compete in the 400-meter hurdles for the second-straight year and looks to finish near the top of the pack this season, entering the competition with the fifth-fastest seed time. Dorr’s 56.91, which she clocked to take second at regionals, is also a Penn State record. Greaves will run the 200, after capturing fifth place and automatic-qualifying status at the regional. Also making the trip will be redshirt junior Aleesha Barber (Decatur, Ga.), who received an at-large bid in the 100-meter hurdles, thanks to her season-best 13.41.

Dorr, Greaves, and Barber, along with senior Gayle Hunter (Riverside, Calif.) will also compete in the 4x400-meter relay, an event in which the Lions are defending champions. The Penn State quartet sprinted to a season-best 3:33.57 last weekend, claiming top honors in the region for the second-straight year. Hunter will be one of the competition’s busiest athletes as always, as she will also compete in the heptathlon and open long jump. Hunter posted an automatic-qualifying and school-record 5730 at the Big Ten Championships, earning a spot in the multi-events. The senior went on to finish fourth in the long jump at the regional championships, earning her second-consecutive national appearance in the event. Hunter finished fifth in the heptathlon and long jump at the NCAA Championships as a junior. Hunter will be joined by teammate Bianca Fung (North Babylon, N.Y.) on the runway, as Fung popped a career-best 20-10.50 (6.36) to finish third in the region and clinch her first trip to the NCAA meet.

Senior Clarence Smith (Coatesville, Pa.) will represent the Lion horizontal jumpers on the men’s side, qualifying for the triple jump competition with a lifetime-best 53-1.50 (16.19) – good for third in the east regional field. Smith will also be making his second-career appearance at the national championships after earning All-America honors as a junior in 2008.

Making the NCAA field for the fourth time in his career will be redshirt junior Ryan Fritz (Parkesburg, Pa.), who was accepted into the meet as an at-large selection. Fritz – already a three-time NCAA All-American - will enter the competition with a season-best 7-1 (2.16) clearance in the high jump. Fritz finished third at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Senior John Vellenoweth (Wheeling, W.Va.) will be one of the Lions’ first-time qualifiers, making an appearance in the pole vault, thanks to an at-large bid. Vellenoweth has topped out at 17-5.50 (5.32) this season, and finished sixth at the regional championships. Vellenoweth’s PR clearance is also a Penn State record.

Back on the track, sophomore Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia) has qualified individually for the first time, after running on the Lions’ NCAA distance medley relay indoors. Foster – the Big Ten Champion indoors and outdoors - posted a fourth-place finish in the 800-meters at the NCAA Regional – good for an automatic-qualifying spot.

Another of the Lions’ seasoned veterans is junior Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio), who is coming off her second-consecutive regional title in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Franek’s school-record 9:43.57 is ranked third in the NCAA steeplechase. Franek, who was the NCAA bronze-medalist in the steeplechase as a sophomore, is already a five-time NCAA All-American.

Also boasting her second-career regional victory is sophomore Karlee McQuillen (Johnstown, Pa.), who took top honors in the javelin last weekend. McQuillen was an All-American in the event as a freshman in 2008. Classmate Kim Hanslovan (DuBois, Pa.) will also compete in the javelin after a sixth-place finish at the regional meet and an at-large bid. Hanslovan set the Penn State record in the event earlier this season with a toss of 178-4 (54.35). Hanslovan’s mark is the fifth-best in the country this season, while McQuillen’s season-best 175-11 (53.62) is ranked eighth.

The NCAA Championships are set to start on June 10, and run through June 13.

Nittany Lions at NCAAs

Aleesha Barber - 4x400
Megan Duncan - 4x400 (Alternate)
Fawn Dorr - 400mH, 4x400
Bridget Franek - 3000m Steeplechase
Bianca Fung - Long Jump
Shavon Greaves - 200m 4x400
Kim Hanslovan - Javelin
Gayle Hunter - Heptathlon, Long Jump, 4x400
Karlee McQuillen - Javelin

Ryan Foster - 800m
Ryan Fritz - High Jump
Clarence Smith - Triple Jump
John Vellenoweth - Pole Vault

  • IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010