Cross country set to host Penn State National Saturday

October 09, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams are hosting their second meet of the year with the Penn State National on Saturday (Oct. 11) at the Blue-White Golf Course.

The Meet
The men's 5.2-mile run starts the action at 10 a.m., followed by the women's 6k at 11 a.m. Competing against the Nittany Lions will be Duquesne, Temple, Towson (W) and West Virginia (W).

Last Time Out
Freshman Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) paced the Nittany Lion women, while Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.) led the Nittany Lion men last Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational held at the Notre Dame Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. Chikotas (16:37.4) ran to a 14th-place finish to lead the then-No. 30 Nittany Lion women to a fifth-place finish and Burkhardt (23:55.7) placed 35th to lead the Nittany Lion men (RV) to an 11th-place finish.

As a team, the women posted a final score of 181 points to finish fifth out of 20 teams. The Nittany Lion women finished ahead of Ohio State, Princeton, SMU and Toledo, all of which were receiving votes in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Poll.

Overall, the men finished with a final score of 336 points to place 11th out of 24 teams. All 10 of the top-10 teams at the Notre Dame Invitational were ranked in the latest USTFCCCA National Poll. The Nittany Lion men finished ahead of 12th-place Air Force (RV).

Last Time at the Penn State National
The Penn State women's cross country team secured a fourth-place finish at the 2013 Penn State National. Freshman Julie Kocjancic (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led the Penn State contingent, crossing the finish line in 22:21 for an 18th-place finish. Junior Lauren Mills (West Chester, Pa.) placed 21st overall, finishing in 22:30. Senior Gabrielle Cocco (Allentown, Pa.) and freshman Cara Ulizio (Redondo Beach, Calif.) finished in a tie for 25th, both crossing the finish line at 22:34. Senior Danielle Kocjancic (Kane, Pa./22:41) rounded out Penn State's scoring five. Penn State finished in fourth-place with 106 points. West Virginia secured first-place with 28 points.

Only two Nittany Lions competed on the men's side, with freshman Za'von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) finishing 30th overall with a time of 28:11, and classmate Thomas Damiani (Tunkhannock, Pa.) crossing the finish line in 29:03 for a 43rd-place finish.

Senior Day
The Penn State National will serve as Senior Day for eight members of the Penn State cross country program. Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.), Abbie Benson (Elma, N.Y.), Glen Burkhardt (Kennett Square, Pa.), Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.), Kerrin Jennings (Glen Mills, Pa.), Lauren Mills (West Chester, Pa.), Victoria Perri (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Katie Rodden (Ardmore, Pa.) will be recognized after the women's 6k race.

The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams enter this weekend with both teams receiving votes in their respective national coaches' polls. Both Penn State cross country teams are ranked fourth in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The Penn State women's cross country team tallied a 25th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, which was their fifth-straight appearance at the NCAA meet.

Fifth-Year Fischer
The men are led by fifth-year senior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.), who posted a third-place finish at the 2013 Big Ten Cross Country Championships and qualified for his first trip to the NCAA meet with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Fischer ended the 2013 cross country season with a 78th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

B1G Honors
Coming off his third-consecutive Dolan Duals title, Creese was named the Big Ten Men's Cross Country Athlete of Week, as announced by the league office on Sept. 9. Creese opened the 2014 season as he won his third Dolan Duals title with a final time of 17 minutes, 49.48 seconds as he led the Nittany Lions to a first-place finish at the season-opening meet in Lock Haven, Pa. Creese's 6k time from the Dolan Duals was the fastest in the Big Ten over the weekend. This is the second career award for Creese; he won the award in 2012 after winning the Dolan Duals.

Looking Ahead
The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams head to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-National Invitational (Oct. 18) at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The Pre-National Invitational features nationally-ranked competition and is the final race for Penn State before the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 2.

Last Updated October 09, 2014