Penn State has set the tone to possibly win two Big Ten championships on its home track this weekend following many overachieving opening-day performances.
The Nittany Lion men’s team is looking to improve on their second-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championship, the best finish in program history. After Friday, the Nittany Lions lead the standings with 41 points, 12 ahead of Rutgers.
On the women’s side, Penn State is in third place with 17, just 7.5 points off the lead after one day. The program is seeking its first indoor-outdoor Big Ten championship double since 2014.
Overall Penn State had four second-place finishes and 12 top-eight finishes, which score points at the Big Ten meet.
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If Penn State’s men are going to win the title, they will need performances like their hammer throwers gave them.
Morgan Shigo, David Lucas and or Kory Decesaris finished 2-6-7 to earn Penn State 13 team points, almost double of what was projected. Lucas was ranked 10th going in, but had a personal-best, by over 10 feet, of 208 feet, 2 inches. Shigo also threw a personal-best 222-11 on his very first throw to put him in first place. Shigo would lead until Michigan’s Joseph Ellis threw two massive throws to take home the gold. Shigo was extremely proud of his effort and beat out Nebraska’s Nicholas Percy, the bronze medalist, for the first time his career.
The trio of Michael Shuey, Mike Biddle and Ryan Kerr combined for 16 team points finishing second, fourth and sixth in the javelin to add to the big day. Shuey’s best throw was 240-7.
The McGowan twins proved two is better than one Friday. The Nittany Lion brothers, Tim and John, finished second and sixth, respectively, in the 10,000-meter run.
The duo was near the front during the entire race before Wisconsin’s Malachy Schrobilgen made a move which no one could match. Each McGowan passed at least one other athlete on the final lap and looked spent at the finish line. They also hugged each other and teammates after the race.
2x5 from the 10k
Junior Jill Hunsberger and freshman Kathryn Munks each ran their first 10,000 races of the season Friday. They were in the lead pack the entire race heading into an intense final lap. Hunsberger took the lead at one point, but Michigan’s Gina Sereno had the kick of the day and took the lead with 200 meters to get the victory. Hunsberger finished second and Munks took fifth.
Holmberg leads Hept
Penn State’s Maddie Holmberg leads the heptathlon with 3,354 points, 198 over second-place Aaron Howell of Michigan. Holmberg opened with a win in the 100 hurdles but finished 14th in the high jump. She bounced back with two more wins in he shot put and 200. She was the event favorite before the meet began.
Two for five
Lexi Masterson and training partner Hannah Mulhern tied each other for sixth place in the pole vault to give Penn State five points.
Masterson said it was fun to be at home and Mulhern agreed. “The crowd got the adrenaline rushing and it was great to have our friends and family out here supporting us,” said Mulhern.
Coaches of the day
Distance coach Angela Reckart and throws coach Lucais MacKay were hired over the past two years and they have left their marks on Penn State on Day 1.
Reckart’s athletes had impressive performances in the 10,000-meter runs. None of the athletes marks going into the meet, so 23 total points is surely more than that was expected.
Getting three in the top eight in both the men’s hammer and javelin also is helping the Nittany Lions.