Penn State wins Big Ten title behind four individual winners, two records
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State captured its fifth Big Ten championship on Sunday on the strength of four individual champions, a championship in the 4x400 relay, a Big Ten championships record and a school record.
"We fought well all weekend. The senior class of ladies was outstanding. They fueled our passion with great performances," director and head coach Beth Alford-Sullivan said. "I am proud of the win, my staff and our total program."
In Big Ten championships record fashion, sophomore Kiah Seymour won the 400-meter hurdles in 56.40 and senior Mahagony Jones captured the 200 meter dash to help pace Penn State's championship efforts. Jones was also runner-up in the 100 meters. Jones and Seymour teamed-up with junior Dynasty McGee and freshman Tichina Rhodes for the victory in the last event of the day, the 4x400 relay. McGee also made it to the podium in 400 the meters with a third-place finish.
Prior to the final day of competition, seniors Melissa Kurzdorfer and Brittney Howell won titles in the hammer throw and heptathlon.
Penn State had several runner-up finishes, including senior Marta Klebe's school-record run in the 1,500 meters. Klebe's 4:15.20 broke a 31-year old mark that was held by Doreen Startare. Redshirt-senior Evonne Britton earned runner-up status in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.23. She was also fourth in the 400-meter hurdles for the Nittany Lions. The 4x100 put together a time of 44.64, earning runner-up status for freshman Danielle Gibson, Jones, McGee and Seymour. The team's run is fourth in Penn State history.
Numerous Nittany Lions pitched in with points-scoring performance to help their respective teams. Freshman Lexi Masterson finished in a three-way tie for seventh place, earning a point for the Nittany Lions' championship run when every point counted. Gibson jumped a lifetime best 40-8.75 in the triple jump to take eighth place for another point.
The Big Ten outdoor title adds to Penn State's haul this season, giving the Nittany Lions a school record-tying eighth Big Ten crown in 2013-14. The last time Penn State accomplished the feat was in 2012-13. The outdoor title is the ninth Big Ten championship overall (cross country, indoor or outdoor) for the program, all since 2004. Penn State won both the indoor and outdoor championship this year, marking back-to-back outdoor titles for the team. The team has also won a cross country championship in 2009, indoor championships in 2004 and '10, and outdoor championships in 2008, '09, '10 and '13.
The Nittany Lions have a week off before heading to NCAA East Regionals on May 29-31 in Jacksonville, Florida.