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Top 5 Events To Watch At Penn State National

Top 5 Events To Watch At Penn State National
Photo: Image of Sport
Highlighted by stacked relays and middle distance showdowns, Penn State National Invitational will host multiple All-Americans and top NCAA teams in pursuit of NCAA qualifying times. Starting Friday in State College, Pennsylvania, the Penn State National Invitational is ready to stun. Study up on the top five races to watch live on FloTrack this weekend. 


Men's and Women's Distance Medley Relay

Who: Men -- Georgetown, Penn State, Stanford, Middle Tennessee State, Women -- Stanford
When: Friday, Women's -- 6:30 PM, Men's -- 6:45 PM ET
Why: Fans will get a show with the men's and women's distance medley relays on Friday night, which have historically qualified many teams to the NCAA Indoor Championships. For the past three years, the Penn State National meet has had the second most men's DMR team qualifiers behind the Alex Wilson Invitational. On the women's side, Penn State National qualified the third most teams to NCAAs in 2016. 

Watch last year's men's DMR championship:

Although the official lineups haven't been announced yet, the men's teams of Georgetown, Penn State, Stanford, and Middle Tennessee State should combine for a competitive battle in the invitational relay. 

At last year's NCAA Indoor Championships, Stanford earned a fourth-place finish with the lineup of Thomas Coyle, Jackson Shumway, Justin Brinkley, and Sean McGorty. This year, the Cardinal squad will run Isaac Cortes, Jackson Shumway, Brian Smith, and Grant Fisher in an attempt to earn a qualifying mark, according to Dave Kiefer of Stanford Athletic Communications. Fisher boasts sub-4:00 mile speed on the anchor, which should prove helpful in his DMR relay and collegiate indoor debut. Shumway is a valuable returning All-American relay member while Cortes and Smith boast 1:50 speed in the 800m. 

Georgetown will run Spencer Brown, Quincey Wilson, Joe White, and Scott Carpenter, according to Hoyas assistant track coach Brandon Bonsey. Brown owns 1:49 speed in the 800m, and Wilson has already split 49 seconds for the open 400m this year. White notched a 1000m victory in 2:21 last weekend, and Carpenter is returning from finishing 10th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. 

John Gondak told FloTrack that the Penn State team's relay lineup will include freshman Domenic Peretta and 1:45 800m speedster Isaiah Harris but couldn't confirm the assignments for the 400m and 1600m legs. 

Middle Tennessee State's lineup hasn't been announced yet, but the team boasts a middle distance arsenal of talent in Sampson Laari (1:46 800m and 4:01 mile PRs), Eliud Rutto (1:45 800m PR), and Kigen Chamdi (4:01 mile PR). 

The women's race will feature a time chase for Stanford. After finishing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year, the Cardinal will run a lineup of Elise Cranny, Gaby Gayles, Olivia Baker, and Rebecca Mehra in an attempt to qualify this year. Cranny, the 2016 NCAA 1500m runner-up, is a proven member of the relay team after leading off with a successful 1200m last year. Gayles will be a welcomed addition to the relay after notching a 53-second 400m personal best last year. Baker will assume her duties on the 800m leg after finishing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2016. Although she is racing this weekend, the coaches are planning to hold her out of the NCAA DMR lineup so she can focus on the open 800m at NCAAs. Finally, Mehra will return to the relay after splitting a blazing 4:35 anchor leg at the 2016 NCAA championships.

Relive the 2016 women's DMR championship:

Women's 800m

Who: Elise Cranny, Emma Keegan, Malika Waschmann, Rebecca Mehra
When: Saturday, 4:05 PM ET
Why: The women's 800m features a talented group of sub-2:06 talent in Stanford's Elise Cranny and Malika Waschmann, plus Georgetown's Emma Keegan. Cranny will be making her indoor season debut after suffering a foot injury in the fall cross country season. The NCAA 1500m runner-up returned from her injury just in time to help the Cardinal finish fifth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Along with Cranny, Stanford will be running seniors Malika Washmann and Rebecca Mehra. Waschmann set her 800m personal best of 2:05.33 at the MPSF Indoor Championships last year and went on to help Stanford place third in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Mehra was also part of the All-American relay team and later finished second in the 1500m at the 2016 Pac-12 Outdoor Championships. According to TFRSS, Mehra hasn't run an 800m since 2013 but most recently ran 2:43 in the 1000m at the UW Indoor Preview. Georgetown will be bringing serious 800m talent in Keegan, who recently won the 1000m in 2:46 at the Nittany Lion Challenge. Keegan was part of Georgetown's NCAA title-winning DMR team last year. 

Men's 600m and 800m

Who: 600m -- Isaiah Harris, Casimir Loxsom, Selasi Lumax, Joseph White, 800m -- Isaac Cortes, Casimir Loxsom, Domenic Peretta, Chris Sanders, Joseph White
When: Saturday, 600m -- 3 PM ET, 800m -- 4:15 PM ET
Why: Led by Brooks Beast and 600m American record-holder Cas Loxsom, the men's 600m is ready to stun. Loxsom will be making his indoor season debut at his alma mater where he claimed multiple All-American honors as a collegian. He has also expressed a desire to chase the 600m indoor world record, which was recently broken by UTEP freshman Emmanuel Korir. 

Loxsom will face competition from collegiate talents Isaiah Harris of Penn State, Big Bear Track Club's Selasi Lumax, and Georgetown's Joseph White. White is returning from a 1000m victory that stunned Harris at the Nittany Lion Challenge. While crossing the finish line, White made the "shhh" hand gesture to cap off the win. Saturday will be a rematch between the two middle distance rivals. 

Loxsom and White are scheduled to return to the track for the 800m invitational. They'll be joined by Isaac Cortes of Stanford, Domenic Peretta of Penn State, and Chris Sanders of La Salle. A 1:50, 4:04 freshman talent, Cortes recently challenged Eric Jenkins in the 1000m at the UW Indoor Preview. Also a true freshman, Peretta recently ran an 800m PR of 1:49 at the Rod McCravy Memorial. Sanders, a returning All-American, notched a sixth-place finish at NCAAs and a runner-up finish at the NACAC U23 Championships last summer.

Men's 1,000m

Darren Fahy, Jack Salisbury, Michael Slagowski
When: Saturday, 4:35 PM ET
Why: Penn State freshman phenom Michael Slagowski will make his college debut in the 1000m race while running unattached. Slagowski made headlines last year when he became the ninth U.S. high schooler to break four minutes in the mile. He continued his senior season with an 800m personal best of 1:48.36. The youngster will face college talent in Georgetown's steeplechase All-American Darren Fahy and freshman Jack Salisbury. Fahy finished fifth in the steeplechase final at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year, while Salisbury ended his high school career as the 2016 adidas Dream Mile champion. 

Women's 3,000m

Tessa Barrett, Audrey Belf, Tori Gerlach, Paige Hofstad, Erin Hooker
When: Saturday, 4:50 PM ET
Why: Some of the fastest distance talents will take to the track in the women's 3K. Penn State All-American Tessa Barrett is returning from a cross country season in which she captured the Mid-Atlantic region crown and finished third in the competitive Big Ten Championships. Georgetown's Audrey Belf holds a 3K personal best of 9:21 and recently finished third in the mile at the Nittany Lion Challenge. Tori Gerlach, a Penn State All-American who is listed as running unattached, will be competing after finishing 13th in the 5K at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Georgetown freshman Paige Hofstad will toe the line after a cross country season that included a 15th-place finish in the Mid-Atlantic region. Iowa State's Erin Hooker will complete the competitive field after a cross country season that saw top 20 finishes in the Midwest region, Big 12 championship, and Wisconsin Invitational races. 

How To Watch The 2017 Penn State National

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