Pre-National Invitational up next for cross country teams

October 16, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-National Invitational held on Saturday (Oct. 18). The Pre-National Invitational is hosted by Indiana State at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. NCAA qualifying points will be up for grabs this weekend in Terre Haute.

The Meet
The Penn State women are running in the 6k Blue race at 11 a.m. to start the day and the men are competing in the 8k Blue race at 11:35 a.m. Both Penn State teams are slated to compete against numerous nationally-ranked teams. will be streaming the meet via their website, but users must have a FLOPRO account to access the video. Live results are free courtesy of Branch Sports Technology. Both links can be found at the top of this article.

Meet InfoLive Results | Flotrack Stream

There are 40 teams scheduled to compete in the women’s 6k Blue race. Out of the 40 teams running, six teams are ranked and three teams, including Penn State, are receiving votes. No. 1 Michigan, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Georgetown and No. 7 Colorado are the top-ranked teams running in the women's race.

In the men’s 8k Blue race, there are 43 teams slated to run. Seven of those 43 teams are ranked, five of which are ranked between 20-30. Penn State and Georgetown are the two teams receiving votes in the men’s 8k Blue race. No. 1 Colorado and No. 2 Oregon highlight the men's 8k Blue race. 

The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course is also host to the 2014 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Nov. 22.

Last Time Out
The Penn State men’s and women’s cross country teams finished first and second, respectively, last Saturday at the Penn State National held at the Blue-White Golf Course (Oct. 11). Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) tallied a third-place finish in the men’s race and Lauren Mills (West Chester, Pa.) placed eighth for the women. Kidder and Austin Pondel (Columbus, Pa.) both finished in the top-five to lead the Nittany Lion men to a first-place showing. Kidder completed the 5.2-mile course in a time of 26 minutes, 46 seconds to finish third and Pondel crossed the finish line 10 seconds later to place fourth (26:56).

In the women’s race, Mills and Cara Ulizio (Redondo Beach, Calif.) both tallied top-10 finishes. Mills and Ulizio crossed the finish line within one second of each other to place eighth (22:40) and ninth (22:41), respectively.

As a team, the Penn State men won the meet with their score of 40 points, while Duquesne (42) and Temple (44) finished second and third, respectively.

Duquesne won the women’s race with their score of 25 points, while the Penn State women finished second (60). Also in the women’s race, Towson finished third (77) and Temple took fourth (79).

Last Time at the Pre-National Invitational
The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams posted a pair of top-20 finishes at the 2013 Pre-National Invitational at Indiana State's Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course Saturday morning. The women's squad finished in 13th place, while the men's squad placed 17th.

On the 6,000-meter course, junior Leigha Anderson (Carlisle, Pa.) paced the women's contingent, crossing the finish line in 20:58.67 for a 43rd-place finish. Senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) was next for the Nittany Lions as she secured a 67th-place finish with a time of 21:12.98.

The Nittany Lions finished in 13th place with a score of 485 points, while Georgetown captured the women's crown with 117 points.

In the 8,000-meter men's race, junior Matt Fischer (Kennett Square, Pa.) secured a 29th-place finish with a time of 23:59.35, while sophomore Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.), who placed 57th, was the second Nittany Lion across the line with a time of 24:16.76.

Penn State accumulated 599 points for its top-20 finish, while Colorado finished in first place with 90 points.

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 Fischer, 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
After finishing third at the Penn State National, sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) was named the Big Ten Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Oct. 14.

Last Saturday, Kidder tallied a third-place finish with his time of 26 minutes, 46 seconds to lead the Nittany Lion men to a team title at the Penn State National. Kidder's time of 26:46 is a season-best for him at the 5.2-mile Blue-White Golf Course.

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 Nittany Lions do not compete next weekend as they prepare for the Big Ten Cross Country Championships (Nov. 2). The 2014 Big Ten Cross Country Championships are hosted by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, at the Ashton Cross Country Course.

For more on Nittany Lion cross country, log onto or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

Last Updated October 16, 2014