Penn State women’s track and field knew it would be a tough fight going into the Big Ten Championship, but it went hard to the very last event to claim its first Big Ten title since 2014. This is Penn State’s fifth Big Ten Championship title this year, which is the most of any school in the conference.
The Nittany Lions tallied 96.5 points, narrowly edging out Purdue, who finished in second with 94 points. The women’s team is currently ranked No. 14 in the NCAA and showed its dominance at the Big Ten meet by racking up points in events across the board.
Two individual wins and a relay win led the Nittany Lions to the top of the podium. Senior Dannielle Gibson contributed 10 points with a win in the triple jump. Danae Rivers continued her stellar freshman season by snatching up 10 points with an impressive win in the 800 meter run. Rivers also teamed up with Julie Kocjancic, Tichina Rhodes, and Rachel Banks to take home the title in the distance medley relay. This relay team currently holds the No. 10 time in the NCAA.
Other notable contributors include sophomore Tessa Barrett, who acquired 13 points with high finishes in both the 3,000 meter and 5,000 meter races, and Keianna Albury, a sophomore who racked up a total of 10 points between the 60 meter and 200 meter sprints.
The men’s team put up an impressive showing as well, despite not claiming the Big Ten title. An exciting win in the 4×400 meter relay, anchored by middle distance stud Isaiah Harris, capped off the meet for the men and secured a second place finish as a team. Xavier Smith, who was also a part of the winning 4×400 meter relay, took home gold in the 60-meter sprint and fourth in the 200 meter dash. The men’s and women’s combined finish marks the highest in program history.
The final meet of the season will be the NCAA Championship meet at Texas A&M March 10-11.