MEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Rules of the Game
Men’s indoor track and field consists of running, jumping, and throwing events. There are over 40 such events, and different conferences and tournaments hold competitions for only a portion of these. With the switch to the metric system, many races measured in yards have been discontinued, as have other events such as the pentathlon (a series of 5 events).
The Big 10 Conference and NCAA recognized the following events for its 2013 Men’s Indoor Championships:
- Running: 60, 200, 400, 800, 3,000, 5,000 meters, 1 mile (note: mile = approx. 1600 meters).
- Relays: 4 x 400 meters, distance medley relay (1200, 400, 800, 1660 meters).
- Hurdles: 60 meters.
- Jumping: Long jump, triple jump (launched off of, and landing on, one leg, followed by a single stride, followed by a jump with a landing on both feet), high jump, and pole vault.
- Throwing: 35 lb. weight throw, shot put
- All-around: Heptathlon (60 m, 1,000 m, 60 m hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put).
Penn State Men’s Indoor Track & Field History
Penn State has been a member of the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes in America (IC4A) since early in the twentieth century. Harold Barron (60 yard high hurdles) and Larry Shields (mile) were the school’s first IC4A individual indoor champions in 1922; in all, Penn State has won 58 individual and 6 relay IC4A championships, and 7 team championships.
From 1975-1980 the Nittany Lions left the IC4A and were members of the Central Collegiate Conference, earning 13 individual championships. Penn State returned to the IC4A in 1981.
Penn State began Big 10 track and field competition in 1992, and has claimed five individual champions and ten All-Big 10 performers since then, including pentathlete Brian Kelley (1993, 1994).
In 1965, Penn State’s first indoor track and field All-Americans were recognized - the two-mile relay team of Bill Reilly, Dick Lampman, Art Morris, and Tom Bedick. Shot putter Roger Kauffman was the school’s first individual indoor All-American. Penn State shot putters have been particularly noteworthy; Roosevelt Grier, Mike Reid, and Mike Hartenstine, all NFL stars, competed in this event. So did C.J. Hunter, arguably the Nittany Lions’ greatest field athlete, who won all 8 (indoor and outdoor) IC4A championships that he competed in from 1987-1990, and was a 2-time indoor All-American. He is one of Penn State’s 2 indoor national champions (Mike Sands finished 1st in the 440-yard race in 1975).
In 2018, the men had an outstanding year, finishing 4th at the Big Ten Championships and 10th at the NCAA Championships. Isaiah Harris continued his dominance in the 800m, winning gold at the Big Tens for the 3rd consecutive year and silver at the NCAAs. He was a member of the 2nd place 4x400m relay (along with Dan Chisena, Xavier Smith, and Kier Miner) at the Big Ten’s. He was then named the Mid-Atlantic Region Male Track Athlete of the Year. Terrence Laird, who placed 2nd in the 200m at the Big Tens, was named the Conference Field Freshman of the Year. In the field events, Dan Lucas was superb, placing 2nd at the Big Tens and winning the Conference Field Athlete of the Year Award. He then topped this performance by winning the National Championship, and was named the Mid-Atlantic Region Male Track Athlete of the Year.
Legendary coaches Chic Werner (1933-1962) and Harry Groves (1968-2006), both members of the U.S. Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame, have guided the Nittany Lions indoor track and field fortunes. Beth Alford-Sullivan, already the women’s coach, succeeded Groves as men’s track and field coach in 2006. In 2009, Alford-Sullivan became the first woman to be named Mid-Atlantic Men’s Indoor Coach of the Year. In June, Alford-Sullivan left Penn State for similar duties at the University of Tennessee; Assistant Coach John Gondak succeeded Alford-Sullivan before the 2015 season.
The home of the Nittany Lions since January 2000 is the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor track, a state-of-the-art facility with a polyurethane surface and a banked 200-meter hydraulic lift track. It is named for Penn State’s gold medal winner in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
One of the most tragic events in Penn State athletic history occurred in 2002. Pole vaulter Kevin Dare was killed while competing at the Big 10 Indoor Championships, which were cancelled as a result. A memorial fund in his name provides a scholarship for a Penn State track and field athlete; more importantly, the fund supports research to improve event safety. A new vaulting helmet, and improved vaulting poles, pits and runways, are the results to date, with more improvements to follow.
1943, 1959, 1984, 1987, 2001, 2003, 2006
Chic Werner (1933-1962)
2 indoor IC4A indoor team championships
17 IC4A individual indoor champions
1 IC4A indoor relay team champion
2001 inductee USTCA Hall of Fame
Harry Groves (1968-2006)
5 IC4A indoor team championships
32 IC4A individual indoor champions
5 IC4A indoor relay team champions
4 Big 10 individual indoor champions
8 All-Big 10 indoor selections
32 NCAA individual All-Americans
8 NCAA All-America relay teams
2001 inductee USTCA Hall of Fame
Beth Alford-Sullivan (2007-2014)
12 Big 10 individual indoor champions
29 All-Big 10 indoor selections
13 NCAA individual All-Americans
3 All-America relay teams
2009, 2013 Mid-Atlantic Men’s Coach of the Year
Notable Players (indoor honors)
1940 IC4A champion (60 yards, long jump)
1942 IC4A champion (long jump)
1974 NCAA champion (440 yards)
1974, 1975 All-American (440 yards)
1975 All-American (mile relay)
1975 Central Collegiate champion (440 yds)
1975 All-American (60 yd high hurdles)
1976 All-American (440 yards)
1976 All-American (mile relay)
1975, 1976 Central Collegiate champion (60 yd high hurdles)
1990 NCAA champion (shot put)
1989, 1990 All-American (shot put)
1987-1990 IC4A Champion (shot put)
2010, 2011 NCAA bronze medalist (800 m), All-American
2009-2011 Big 10 champion (800 m), All-Big 10
All-American 2011, 2012 (4x100 relay), 2013 (800 m)
NCAA silver medal (600 m)
All-Big 10 – 2012, 2013
Big 10 champion – (2012-13 – dist med relay); 2013 – 600m
2013 - American/Collegiate record – 600 m
All-American – 2012 (mile); 2013-15 (dist med relay)
NCAA silver medal (dist med relay)
All-Big 10 – 2012, 2013, 2015
Big 10 Champion 2013, 2015 – (mile); 2015 (3,000m), 2012-13, 2015 (dist med relay)
NCAA silver medal (2013, 2015 - dist med relay)
4-time All-America (1st team 2013, 2015-16)
Big 10 Champion – (2013-16 -dist med relay; 2013-14 – 800m; 2016 mile)
2016 Mid-Atlantic Region Track Athlete of the Year
2016 –all-time college record in 1,000m (2:18.26)
2016-18 Big Ten Champion (800m)
2017 Big Ten Champion (4x400m relay)
2018 Mid-Atlantic Male Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
NCAA Champions – Mike Sands (1975 - 440 yards); C.J. Hunter (1990 - shot put);David Lucas (2018 – wt. throw).
All-Americans – 51 individual selections, 10 relay teams.
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Track Athlete of the Year-- Ryan Foster (2009, 2011 – 800m); Robbie Creese (2012); Casimir Loxsom (2013); Brannon Kidder (2016);Isaiah Harris (2018).
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Field Athlete of the Year-- Ryan Fritz (2007 – high jump); Joe Kovacs (2011 - shot put); Bryce Williams (2017 – shot put);Dan Lucas (2018 - wt. throw).
Big 10 Individual Champions – Brian Kelley (1993, 1994 - pentathlon); Joe Loner (1997 - 800m); Neal McNutt (1998 - 35 lb. weight toss); Ryan Fritz (2007 – high jump); Clarence Smith (2008, 2009 – triple jump); Mark Miller (2008 – 800 m); Ryan Foster (2009-2011 – 800m); Joe Kovacs (shot put); Robby Creese (2013, 2015 - mile, 2015 - 3,000m); Casimir Loxsom (2013 - 600 m).; Darrell Hill (2015- shot put); Isaiah Harris (2016, 2017,2018 - 800m); Xavier Smith (2017 – 60m).
Big 10 Relay Champions – Wade Endress, Aaron Nadolsky, Casimir Loxsom, Robbie Creese (2012 – distance medley); Brannon Kidder, Matt Gilmore, Ryan Brennan, Robby Creese (2013 – distance medley); Brannon Kidder, Brandon Bennett-Green, Za'Von Watkins, Ryan Brennan (2014 - distance medley relay). Brannon Kidder, Jordan Makins, Alex Shisler, Za’von Watkins (2015 – distance medley); Jordan Makins, Alex Shisler, Isaiah Harris, Brannon Kidder (2016 – distance medley); Dan Chisena, Xavier Smith, Samuel Reiser, Isaiah Harris (2017 – 4x400m relay).
Big 10 Male track Athlete of the Year - Casimir Loxsom (2013); Isaiah Harris (2017).
Big 10 Freshman of the Year – Robbie Creese (2012); Brannon Kidder (2013); Terrance Laird (2018).
All-Big 10 – 38 individual selections, 6 relay teams.
IC4A Champions – 58 individuals, 6 relay teams.
Central Collegiate Champions – 13 individuals.
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year – Erin Tucker (2017).