Penn State men, Villanova women big winners at Penn Relays
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Brannon Kidder led Penn State to the distance medley relay championship at the Penn Relays on Friday, breaking away from the pack with a blistering anchor leg.
Kidder ran the closing 1,600-meter leg in 4 minutes, 0.77 seconds as the Nittany Lions finished in 9:35.51.
Robby Creese opened with a 2:57.03 in the 1,200, Alex Shisler ran the 400 in 47.77 and Isaiah Harris clocked in at 1:49.96 in the 800 for Penn State. It was the sixth overall men's distance medley relay title for the Nittany Lions.
''They executed the race plan to perfection,'' Penn State coach John Gondak said. ''It's always a little bit nerve-racking when every team is still there going into the anchor leg - and there were some outstanding teams today. But Brannon just had a great finish like he always does and brought home the victory for Penn State.''
Georgetown came in second at 9:36.32 and host Penn finished third in 9:37.25. Oregon, the 2014 and 2015 winner in the event, didn't bring its men's team to Penn Relays this year.
Kidder and Creese were both part of the Nittany Lions' last distance medley relay title in 2013, making Friday's win to bookend their college career even more gratifying.
''I got a little spoiled winning one my freshman year,'' Kidder said. ''It makes you realize how special it is to get the wheel. They all mean something different.''
In the other marquee long-distance race on Day 2 of the three-day meet at Franklin Field, Villanova used a big kick from Siofra Cleirigh Buttner to win the women's 6,000 relay in 17:44.29.
Buttner, the only sophomore on a relay team with freshmen Bella Burda, Sammy Bockoven and Nicole Hutchinson, ran her anchor leg in 4:24.3 to edge Oregon, Georgetown and Indiana in a dramatic four-team race.
''All I told the freshmen was to somehow put Siofra in the race and I knew she could get it done,'' Villanova coach Gina Procaccio said. ''I told (Siofra), `Just remember you can outkick anyone. Just remember that.' It's nice that it went to plan.''
The win was Villanova's sixth Penn Relays championship in the last three years as the Wildcats bounced back from a third-place finish in the distance medley relay Thursday.
''I didn't have a doubt in my mind that we could get this done today,'' said Buttner, who made her move with about 200 meters left. ''I watched every other girl give it their all, give their heart and guts to each leg, and I knew I wasn't going to give that up.''
Oregon won the women's 400 relay title, with the Ducks' foursome of Danielle Barbian, Deajah Stevens, Hannah Cunliffe and Ariana Washington finishing in 43.44 seconds. Tennessee was second at 43.72 and Auburn came in third at 44.83. Texas A&M, which had won the previous seven titles, was not at the meet.
''This is just a really fun meet,'' said Washington, Oregon's anchor. ''We came here to win and just to have fun, and that's what we did.''
In the shuttle hurdles championships, Houston won the men's title in 56.78 and Florida State took the women's title in 55.15. In the sprint medley championships, Florida won the men's title in 3:16.87 and Oregon captured its second straight women's title in 3:46.40.
In the field events, Florida State's Kellion Knibb won the women's discus with a throw of 192 feet, 1 inch. Penn State's Jon Yohman won the shot put title at 60-10 1/2. It was the fourth time in five years a Penn State athlete has won the event, with Darrell Hill winning the previous two.
Chadron State's Damarcus Simpson won the men's long jump at 25-10 1/4, Vanderbilt's Simone Charley took the women's triple jump at 42-8 and Lehigh's Courtney Avery won the women's high jump at 5-10.