Millhouse Wins Second-Straight Big Ten 10K
Kurzdorfer turns in runner-up standing in hammer throw
MADISON, Wisc.: May 11, 2012 – Senior Kara Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa.) kicked to her second-straight conference 10,000-meter crown, Friday at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships at McClimon Track, while sophomore Melissa Kurzdorfer (Lancaster, N.Y.) also made the medal stand, taking runner-up honors in the women’s hammer throw. The Nittany Lions also had a productive start on the men’s side with senior Kyle Dawson (Coatesville, Pa.), who placed fourth in the men’s 10,000, and redshirt sophomore Will Barr (Urbana, Ohio), who placed seventh in the men’s hammer, putting up points towards the Penn State total.
Running calmly in the pack through over 7,000-meters of the competition, Millhouse unleashed a 73-second 400-meter effort with seven laps remaining to break the field down to a two-woman race with Wisconsin’s Caitlin Comfort. After exchanging the lead over the next several laps, Millhouse bided her time, before turning on her signature finishing kick to solidify her second-consecutive 10K title and finish in 34:25.78 – four seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Statistically speaking, Millhouse brings home the third Big Ten 10K title in school history, along with her 2011 crown, and Kim Kelly’s victory in 1993.
The men’s race also saw an exciting finish for the Nittany Lions, with a strategic race playing out in Dawson’s favor as the senior held on to clock 29:16.65 – the second-best 10K performance of his career – for fourth overall. The fourth-place standing is also the highest individual showing by the senior over his stellar Nittany Lion career.
After getting off to a slow start, Kurzdorfer popped a PR effort on her third attempt, going 207-5 (63.23) to move to second place overall. The sophomore then tacked a few more inches onto her career best on her sixth and final attempt of the competition, posting a toss of 207-9 (63.33). Ohio State’s Alexis Thomas won the competition via a meet-record effort of 212-0 (64.62). With their respective career-best efforts, Thomas and Kurzdorfer both rank within in the NCAA Top 10, and take over the top two spots in the NCAA East Region, setting up for another battle at the NCAA First Round at the end of the month.
Barr also turned in a series of career-best efforts, posting three throws over 197-feet, including a PR 198-7 (60.53) on his final attempt to move from eighth to seventh overall. Barr’s throw, which was the first Big Ten scoring performance of his young career, moves him to fourth best on the all-time Penn State top 10 list. The Lions also saw solid efforts from senior Joe Kovacs (Nazareth, Pa.) and Logan Caldwell (Ebensburg, Pa.), who placed 14th and 15th, respectively – both just shy of making the final. Kovacs posted a season-best 192-0 (58.52), while Caldwell launched a career-best 188-4 (54.41).
Also getting underway on day one was the women’s heptathlon, which saw Nittany Lion sophomore Brittney Howell (Wyncote, Pa.) turn in a four-event point total of 3308, putting her in fifth place overall going into Saturday’s final three events. Howell opened up with a PR 13.91 – the sixth-fastest effort in school history – before following up with a season-best clearance of 5-5.75 (1.67) in the high jump. Howell ended the day with efforts of 37-03.25 (11.36) in the shot put and 25.07 in the 200-meters.
On the men’s side, senior Anya Uzoh (Laurel, Md.) stands sixth overall after day one with a total of 3834 points. Uzoh’s five-event afternoon included a PR 41-8.5 (12.71) in the shot put.
Thanks to medal efforts from Millhouse and Kurzdorfer, the Nittany Lion women’s squad is tops in the team scoring after two completed events with 18 points. Ohio State and Nebraska are currently tied for second with 13 points apiece. The Nittany Lion men are currently on the board with seven points, good for seventh place with three events scored.
Action on day two of the championships is slated to get underway at 9:30 a.m., CDT, Saturday.
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Updated on May 20, 2013, 6:50am