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.  In 2018, Penn State finished 9th at the Big Ten Tournament, and 5th at the Mid-Atlatic Region Championships.  Colin Abert made the All-Big Ten second team

.  In 2018, Penn State finished 9th at the Big Ten Tournament, and 5th at the Mid-Atlatic Region Championships.  Colin Abert made the All-Big Ten second team

.  In 2018, Penn State finished 9th at the Big Ten Tournament, and 5th at the Mid-Atlatic Region Championships.  Colin Abert made the All-Big Ten second team


Rules of the Game

Collegiate cross-country is an outdoor fall team sport.  Courses vary between 8,000 and 10,000 meters, and are confined to fields, woods, and grasslands as much as possible.  They are to be free of danger, including undergrowth, ditches, and unreasonable inclines.  The running path must not be less than two meters wide, with five meters or more the preferred width.  Many cross-country race courses follow golf courses; the PennState men’s cross-country home course usually is the University Blue Golf Course, with a distance of 5.2 miles (occasionally the White Course is used). Erick Mack of Air Force holds the course record with a time of 24 minutes, 54 seconds in 1995; Dan Mazzocco holds the Penn State record, a time of 25 minutes, 29.69 seconds in 2003.

Teams may field twelve runners (or more with prior agreement).  All runners who finish are assigned a finishing place.  The top five finishing runners on each team contribute points (equal to their finishing place) to their team score.  Also, if the sixth and seventh finishers of a team finish ahead of the top five finishers of an opponent, then that opposing team gets points added to its score.  At the end of the race, the team with the FEWEST points is the victor; teams without at least five finishers are not included in the final team placement.

Penn State Men’s Cross-Country History

PennState first fielded a men’s cross-country team in 1912, under coach Pop Golden, who ten years previously was the Nittany Lions’ football coach.  After one season, C.W. Martin took over the coaching reins, and in 1920, John Romig became the school’s first of seven Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) individual champions. Under Coach Nate Cartmell (1922-1932), Bill Cox won consecutive IC4A individual championships, the only Nittany Lion to accomplish this feat, and the team won IC4A championships in 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1930.

Chick Werner was appointed head coach in 1933.  Under his tutelage, Penn State enjoyed great success at the national level. The Nittany Lions finished in the NCAA top 5 nine consecutive times and eleven times overall, shared one national title (1941) and won two others outright (1947, 1950).  PennStatealso won IC4A team championships in 1950 and 1951, Curt Stone and Horace Ashenfelter were NCAA individual runners-up (in 1946 and 1947 respectively), and runners earned 22 All-American honors.

John Lucas succeeded Werner in 1962, and Howie Deardoff earned All-American honors that year.  In 1968, the legendary Harry Groves became head coach.  Since then, the Nittany Lions have won three Central Collegiate team championships, one IC4A championship, and eight NCAA Region II championships, four of them consecutively (1978-1981).  In 1991, Penn State began competing in the Big 10, one of the nation’s toughest cross-country conferences.  The Nittany Lions have finished as high as third four times (1992-1994, 2000), but are still seeking their first championship.  They have fared better in the NCCA Championships during that same time period, placing in the top 10 in 1991 and 1994.  

In all, Groves’ runners have earned 23 All-American honors, won seven Central Collegiate individual championships, two IC4A individual championships, and two NCAA Region II individual championships; Dan Mazzocco was Region II’s Cross-Country Champion and Athlete of the Year in 2003.

Groves, a two-time national cross-country coach of the year, retired after the 2005 season.  The U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association named its Mid-Atlantic Region Cross-Country Coach of the Year Award in his honor, the first time such an honor has been bestowed on a coach. 

Beth Alford-Sullivan, women’s cross-country coach since 2000, was named Groves’ successor.  In 2013,  Matt Fischer’s 3rd place finish at the Big 10 Championships was the best in Nittany Lion history.  In June, 2014, Alford-Sullivan left Penn State for similar duties at the University of Tennessee.  Assistant Coach John Gondak was named as her replacement as Head Coach and Director of Cross-Country/Track and Field.  The team finished 3rd at the Big 10 Championships, and at one point was ranked 24th nationally.  Matt Fischer was the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Region Champion, and finished 176th out of 246 at the NCAA Championships.

In 2018, Penn State finished 9th at the Big Ten Tournament, and 5th at the Mid-Atlatic Region Championships.  Colin Abert made the All-Big Ten second team.

 In 2019, the team finished 5th at the Big Ten Championships, and 6th at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships.

Team Accomplishments 

Final NCAA Top 10 Finishes
1941 (2), 1942 (1-tie), 1946 (3), 1947 (1), 1948 (4), 1949 (4), 1950 (1), 1951 (4), 1952 (4), 1953 (4), 1954 (5), 1975 (4), 1978 (4), 1979 (3), 1980 (3), 1991 (10), 1994 (8) 

National Champions
1942 (tie), 1947, 1950 

NCAA Region II Champions
1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1991

C4A Champions
1926, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1950, 1951, 2000 

Central Collegiate Champions
1978, 1979, 1981


Chick Werner (1933-42, 1944-61)

22 cross-country All-Americans
11 consecutive NCAA top 5 finishes
NCAA team champion 1942 (tie), 1947, 1950
IC4A team champion 1950, 1951

Harry Groves (1968-2005)

23 cross-country All-Americans
6 NCAA top 10 finishes
8 NCAA Region II Championships
3 Central Collegiate Championships
1 IC4A Championship
1974, 1979 National Cross-Country Coach of the Year
USTFCCCA Hall of Fame
Virginia Intercollegiate Hall of Fame
USTFCCCA Hall of Fame

Notable Players

Bill Cox

1926, 1927 IC4A Champion

Curt Stone

1946 IC4A champion
1946 NCAA runner-up
1942, 1946 All-American

Horace Ashenfelter

1947 NCAA runner-up
1947 All-American

Eric Carter

1987 IC4A champion 1987
NCAA Region II champion

Dan Mazzocco

2003 NCAA Region II champion
2003 NCAA Region II Athlete of the Year
2005, 2006 All-American

Player Recognition

NCAA Champion – Curt Stone (1946 runner-up); Horace Ashenfelter (1947 runner-up).

NCAA Region II Champion – Eric Carter (1987); Dan Mazzocco (2003). 

NCAA Region II Athlete of the Year – Dan Mazzocco (2003).

Mid-Atlantic Region Champion - Matt Fischer (2014)

IC4A Champion – Jim Romig (1920); Bill Cox (1926, 1927); Bill Smith (1938); Curt Stone (1946); Horace Ashenfelter (1947); Eric Carter (1987), Chris Foster (2004).

Central Collegiate Champion – Paul Stemmer (1974, 1975); George Malley (1976); Bob Snyder (1978); Larry Morgan (1979); Alan Scharsu (1980, 1981).

Big Ten Freshman of the Year – Kyle Dawson (2008)

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