Jan. 30, 2009


Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the 10th-straight year, the Nittany Lion track and field teams will play host to the Penn State National, one of the most highly anticipated and hotly contested competitions of the entire indoor season, this Friday and Saturday at Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track. Among the 40-plus programs scheduled to be in attendance are No. 2 Tennessee, No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Arkansas, as well as 18th-ranked Penn State and No. 25 Kentucky on the women's side, and No. 16 Kentucky, No. 21 Georgetown, and an up-and-coming Lion squad on the men's side.

Among the nearly 1,500 athletes schedule to compete are Nittany Lion All-Americans Ryan Fritz (Parkesburg, Pa.) in the high jump, Clarence Smith (Coatesville, Pa.) in the triple jump, Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio) in the 3,000-meters, Fawn Dorr (Akron, N.Y.) in the 400-meters, and NCAA Champion Gayle Hunter (Riverside, Calif.) in the pentathlon.  Fritz and Smith have already provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet, as Fritz currently stands second in the nation in the high jump, and Smith is among the top 10 triple jumps.  Also making her way to the NCAA list in 2009 is sophomore Shavon Greaves (Lakewood, N.J.), who provisionally qualified in the 200-meters.

Outside of the Lion contingent, some of the nation's top athletes will also be in attendance, including Tennessee's Sarah Bowman, who is already an NCAA automatic qualifier in the mile and 3,000.  Also among the most decorated contenders are Queen Harrison and Kristi Castlin of Virginia Tech.  Harrison was a 2008 U.S. Olympian, while Castlin is currently ranked third in the country in the 60-meter hurdles.  One of the hottest events on the men's side looks to be the shot put, which is scheduled to feature Virginia's Yemi Ayeni and Kentucky's Rashaud Scott, who both stand among the top seven performances in the NCAA in the event.

The Nittany Lions will also be hosting a banner drop at 2:15 p.m., to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2008 season.