Track and field travels coast-to-coast

April 30, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following a successful Penn Relays, the Penn State track & field team is traveling coast-to-coast for a pair of meets this weekend. The Nittany Lions will travel to the Maryland Twilight meet (May 1) in College Park, Md., and a handful of distance runners will make their way out to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Payton Jordan Invite (May 2). The Payton Jordan Invite will be streamed online via Flotrack.org, but viewers must have a FloPro account to access the video.

LAST TIME OUT - PENN RELAYS
The Penn State track & field team found great success at the 2015 Penn Relays, as the Nittany Lions won three titles, posted seven top-10 performances in the school record books and recorded numerous personal-bests.

THURSDAY
Freshman Elizabeth Chikotas (Hellertown, Pa.) won't forget her Penn Relays debut, as she went onto win the championship section of women's 5,000-meter run Thursday night at Franklin Field. Chikotas was one of four Nittany Lions to set Penn State record book performances Thursday.

Chikotas captured Penn State's 111th Penn Relays championship title with the No. 4 time in school history, 16 minutes, 5.46 seconds. She also becomes the first Nittany Lion to win the Penn Relays women's 5k title since 1986 (Stacy Prey).

Along with Chikotas in the 5,000-meter run, Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) ran to an outdoor personal-best time of 16:21.53 en route to an eighth-place finish.

Obeng Marfo (Ontario, Canada) began the day for Penn State with a personal-best performance in the women's discus. In the event, Marfo finished 10th with her toss of 152 feet, 3 inches. She then carried her momentum into the college section of the women's shot put, as she tallied another personal-best mark.

Kemp led a quartet of Nittany Lion pole vaulters to four top-10 finishes Thursday. Kemp was the top finisher for Penn State as she tallied a personal-best height of 12-9.5. Her mark moves her into tie for fourth all-time in the Penn State record books (Witmer - 2010 & Knabe - 2014).

In the women's high jump, Richardson passed at the opening height (5-3) and then she cleared the next six heights on her first attempts. In two jumps she went from outside the Penn State top-10 to tied for second all-time.

At 5-10, Richardson tied the No. 9 mark in school history, and at 5-11.25 she tied the No. 2 performance in school history. Richardson then missed her three attempts at 6-0.5, which would have set the school record. Overall, Richardson placed second in the competition.

FRIDAY
Senior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) found himself in a familiar place Friday, atop of the Penn Relays podium, as he defended his 2014 Penn Relays men's shot put title. With his family and teammates cheering him on, Hill claimed the 2015 Penn Relays men's shot put crown with his lifetime-best mark of 68-2.5.

Hill opened up the competition with his then-season-best mark of 65-5, he then fouled his second attempt before his lifetime-best toss of 68-2.5. His mark today is the No. 2 all-time mark at Penn State, the No. 3 all-time performance at the Penn Relays and the No. 2 performance this outdoor season in the NCAA.

Along with Hill, the men's sprint medley relay brought home a first-place finish for the Nittany Lions in thrilling fashion.

Freshman Xavier Smith (Douglassville, Pa.) and Sancho Barrett (Amityville, N.Y.) ran the opening 200-meter dash legs, setting up Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), who covered the 400-meter dash leg.

It all came down to the All-American Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) against LSU's All-American Blair Henderson. Last year, LSU and Penn State were in different sections in the men's sprint medley relay at the Penn Relays, but Henderson and Kidder anchored their respective teams. LSU won the title last year with its time of 3:17.96.

Friday it was Penn State's turn to hoist the Penn Relays wheel as Kidder split 1:48.90, outkicking Henderson's 1:49.60 down the stretch. Overall, Penn State finished first with its time of 3:21.29 and LSU took second (3:21.95).

SATURDAY
The Penn State track & field team closed out the 2015 Penn Relays with top-10 finishes across the board Saturday in front of 48,920 fans at Franklin Field. Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.) led the Nittany Lions with his second-place finish in the championship section of the men's javelin.

Shuey posted a throw of 241 feet, 9 inches on his third attempt to take the lead, but his throw did not hold as John Ampomah of Middle Tennessee State tallied an NCAA-leading toss of 267-6 to claim the title on his fourth attempt.

Also competing in the men's javelin, Ryan Kerr (Brookville, Pa.) tallied a fourth-place finish in the college section with his toss of 227-0. Kerr's toss today is the No. 9 mark all-time in the Penn State record books.

After setting the No. 7 4x200-meter relay time in school history at the season-opening Florida Relays, the quartet of Megan Osborne (Chillicothe, Ohio), Deja Davis (Shelby Charter Township, Mich.), Quenee Dale (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) improved their spot in school history at the Penn Relays.

The Nittany Lions clocked in at 1:35.52 to place sixth in the women's 4x200-meter relay Championship of America section. Their time Saturday ranks sixth all-time in the Penn State record books.

LAST YEAR AT THE PAYTON JORDAN INVITE
Penn State sophomore Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) ran a blistering 3:38.82 in the 1500 meters Sunday night to highlight the Nittany Lions' appearance at the Payton Jordan Invite at Stanford. Kidder's time sets the school record for the 1500, breaking Steve Balkey's record from 1987.

Kidder's time is the NCAA leading mark at this point in the season. He is the second Nittany Lion ever under 3:39 in the 1500 meters.

Running a lifetime best in the 1500 meters, senior Marta Klebe (Chesterbrook, Pa.) clocked in at 4:18.64, the fifth-best time ever at Penn State and good enough for third in her section.

IN THE RECORD BOOKS
During the 2015 outdoor season, the Nittany Lions have recorded 13 top-10 all-time performances in the Penn State record books. At the 2015 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Games, Dannielle Gibson (Nassau, Bahama) moved into fourth all-time in the triple jump (42-9.75) at Penn State.

B1G HONORS
APRIL 29
Senior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) has been named the Big Ten Men's Co-Field Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference Wednesday afternoon (April 29). This is the second career award for Hill.

This past weekend at the Penn Relays, Hill defended his 2014 Penn Relays shot put title with a lifetime-best mark of 68-2.5. His toss is the No. 2 all-time mark at Penn State, the No. 3 all-time performance at the Penn Relays and the No. 2 distance this outdoor season in the NCAA.

APRIL 15
Junior Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) has been named the Big Ten Men's Track Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office Wednesday afternoon (April 15). This is the third career award for Creese.

At the Bucknell Classic, Creese won the men's 1,500-meter run with his time of 3:41.74. Earlier this season at the Florida Relays, he finished 11th in the men's 800-meter run with his personal-best time of 1:48.54.

APRIL 8
Following his performance at the season-opening Florida Relays, junior Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) has been named the Big Ten Men's Track Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office Wednesday afternoon (April 8). This is the third career award for Kidder.

At the Florida Relays, Kidder finished third in the men's 800-meter run with his time of 1:47.14 and he also ran the second-leg of the second-place 4x800-meter relay (7:22.22).

In the men's 800-meter run, Kidder ranks sixth in the NCAA and he has the top time in the Big Ten. His time is also the fastest since his freshman year when he finished third at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

IN THE RANKINGS
Nine Nittany Lions currently rank in the top-25 in the NCAA in their respective events. On the track, Elizabeth Chikotas ranks 23rd in the women's 5,000-meter run (16:05.46), Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) is 12th in the men's 1,500-meter run (3:41.74), Tori Gerlach (Perkasie, Pa.) ranks 22nd in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:13.26) and Brannon Kidder is eighth in the men's 800-meter run (1:47.14).

In the field, Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) is 22nd in the women's shot put (53-2.75), Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) ranks second in the men's shot put (68-2.5), Ahmenah Richardson is 20th in the women's high jump (5-11.25), Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.) is seventh in the men's javelin (231-5) and Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) ranks 21st in the men's triple jump (51-7.25).

NO. 15 IN THE LAND
The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced its National Computer Rankings for week four (April 27) and the Penn State men's track & field team remains for the second-straight week at No. 15. The Nittany Lion men are the top Big Ten team in the USTFCCCA National Rankings.

Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.) and Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) have scored times in the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run.

At the season-opening Florida Relays, they both recorded scored performances in the 800-meter run.

In the 800-meter run, Kidder is eighth (1:47.14) and Creese is 30th (1:48.54). The duo also has scored performances in the 1,500-meter run, as they rank 12th (3:41.74) and 63rd (3:44.57), respectively.

The Nittany Lions have four marks in the field events ranked in the USTFCCCA National Computer Rankings.

Senior Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pa.) currently has the second-best scored mark in the shot put (68-2.5) and the javelin duo of Michael Shuey (Johnsonburg, Pa.) and Ryan Kerr (Brookville, Pa.) rank seventh (242-8) and 31st (227-1), respectively.

Steve Waithe (Parkville, Md.) ranks 21st in the triple jump with his leap of 51-7.25.

Robert Cardina (Lancaster, Pa.), a sophomore, is eighth in the decathlon with his score of 7,666 points.

Last year at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Cardina placed eighth in the decathlon (7,666 points), Kidder finished 12th in the 1,500-meter run (3:44.30), Hill placed 15th in the shot put (62-9.50) and Waithe finished fifth (52-11.50) in the triple jump.

The Nittany Lion men opened up the 2015 outdoor season ranked 15th; their highest ranking is 11th, a feat they achieved twice in 2013.

WRAPPING UP INDOOR
With the indoor season in the books, the Nittany Lions recorded 14 top-five school record performances, including a pair of school records.

At the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships, Penn State captured six Big Ten titles en route to a third-place finish by the women and a fourth-place finish by the men.

Nationally, nine Penn State student-athletes recorded first team All-America finishes and the Penn State men tallied a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The NCAA meet was highlighted for Penn State by a runner-up finish in the men's distance medley relay by Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio), Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), Za'Von Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) and Robby Creese (Mount Airy, Md.).

ROAD WARRIORS
The Nittany Lions are scheduled to compete in seven meets in five states before they return to Happy Valley for the Jim Thorpe Invite (May 8). Following the Jim Thorpe Invite, Penn state will travel to East Lansing, Mich. (Big Ten Outdoors), Jacksonville, Fla. (NCAA First Round) and Eugene, Ore. (NCAA Outdoor Championships)

TWELVE SIGN EARLY
Twelve new student-athletes signed their National Letter of Intent during the week-long early signing period in November. Colin Abert (Easton, Pa.), Devin Bradham (Williamstown, N.J.), Frances Bull (Mentor, Ohio), Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine), Maddie Holmberg (Greensburg, Pa.), Peter Hughey (Chambersburg, Pa.), David Lucas (Lititz, Pa.), David Marrington (Langhorne, Pa.), Sam Reiser (St Kilda, Aus.), Sarah Stanley (South Park, Pa.), Abby Stultz (Frederick, Md.) and Grace Trucilla (Erie, Pa.) have signed a National Letter of Intent and will attend Penn State next fall.

NEXT TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions return home next Friday (May 8) for the Jim Thorpe Invite at the Nittany Lion Outdoor Track. The Jim Thorpe Invite will be the final competition for the Nittany Lions before the Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships, May 15-17 in East Lansing, Mich.

Last Updated April 30, 2015