WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Rules of the Game
Women’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.
The Big 10 Conference and the NCAA recognize the following events for their Women’s Indoor Championships:
- Running: 60, 200, 400, 600, 800, 3,000, 5,000 meters, 1 mile (note: one mile = approx. 1600 meters).
- Relays: 4 x 400 meters, distance medley relay (1200, 400, 800, 1600 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: 20 lb. weight throw, shot put – 4 kg (8.75pound) ball.
- All-around: Pentathlon (800 meters, 60 meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put).
Penn State Women’s Indoor Track & Field History
Penn State has achieved success in women’s indoor track and field in many different conferences. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the team was a member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), which eventually was absorbed by the NCAA. The Nittany Lions highest AIAW national finish was 9th (in 1982), but the team won four Eastern AIAW indoor championships.
Penn State currently competes in both the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) and the Big 10. The team has won 5 ECAC indoor championships, and 2 Big 10 Conference titles.
In recent years, the 4x400 meter relay team has captured gold medals at the Big 10 Championships from 2006-2011; this is the longest event winning streak in women’s indoor tack history. In 2011, Shana Cox became the first Big 10 woman to win the 200 m in 3 consecutive years; she also was part of 4 consecutive 4x400 m championships.
In 2017, the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten Championship, and finished 10th at the NCAA Championships. Danielle Gibson (triple jump) and Danae Rivers (800m) were Big Ten Champions, and Rivers was named Conference Freshman of the Year; Rivers was also the Mid-Atlantic Region Track Athlete of the Year. Rivers came in 3rd in the mile, earning All-America recognition. Danielle Gibson (triple jump), Tessa Barrett (5,000m), and the Distance Medley relay (Rachel Banks, Tichina Rhodes, Rivers, and Julie Kocjancic) also were All-Americans. John Gondak was Big Ten and Mid-Atlantic Women’s Track Coach of the Year, and Angela Reckart was the Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Beth Alford-Sullivan became head women’s track and field coach in 1999, succeeding Teri Jordan, who is now Penn State’s disabilities recreation director. Her 2004 and 2010 indoor teams also won the Big 10 team championship, and her 2009 team finished 7th nationally (best in school history). In 2006, she succeeded legendary coach Harry Groves as head of the men’s teams as well. In June, 2014, Alford-Sullivan left Penn State for similar duties at the University of Tennessee, she was succeeded by Assistant Coach John Gondak.
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.
1978, 1981, 1982, 1983
1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1989
Big 10 Champions
2004, 2010, 2014
Beth Alford-Sullivan (1999-2014)
2 Big 10 indoor team championship
25 Big 10 individual event champions
6 Big 10 indoor relay team champions
57 All-Big 10 indoor first team selections
40 NCAA individual indoor All-Americans
7 NCAA All-American indoor relay teams
2004, 2005, 2014 Mid-Atlantic Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year
2004, 2010, 2014 Big 10 Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year
2004 U.S. Olympic Team Assistant Coach
Notable Players (indoor honors)
2003 All-American (long jump, triple jump)
2004 All-American (triple jump)
2002 Big 10 champion (long jump)
2003 Big 10 champion (triple jump)
2002, 2003 1st team All-Big 10
2003 Mid-Atlantic Track & Field Athlete of the Year
2001-4 All-American (200m)
2004 All-American (60m)
2004 Big 10 champion (60m, 200m)
2004 1st team All-Big 10
2004 Big 10 Athlete Track & Field Athlete of the Year
2004 Big 10 Athlete of the Championship
2005 All-American (shot put)
2005, 2006 All-American (weight throw)
2005, 2006 Big 10 Champion (shot, weight throw)
2005, 2006 1st team All-Big 10
2006 Big 10 Athlete of the Year
2008 Big 10 Freshman of the Year
2009-2010 Big 10 Champion (60 m)
2009-2011 Big 10 Champion (200 m, 4x100 m relay)
2010 Big 10 Athlete of the Championships
2010 NCAA 3rd place (200m)
All-Americans – 52 individual selections, 13 relay teams.
Big 10 Individual Champions (1st team All-Big 10) – Chi-Chi Aduba (long jump - 2002; triple jump - 2003); Erica Bosler (600 meters - 1998); Sara Dougherty (pole vault - 2004); Bridget Franek (mile – 2010); Jennifer Leatherman (weight throw, shot put – 2005, 2006); Shelley Mitchell (pentathlon - 1992); Connie Moore (60 meters, 200 meters - 2004); Ja’Nai O’Connor (shot put - 2004); Deshaya Williams (weight throw - 2003); Shana Cox (200m & 400m – 2008); Fawn Dorr (400m – 2009); Shavon Greaves (60m, 200m – 2009-2011); Caitlin Lane (mile - 2012); Kara Milhouse (5,000 meters - 2012); Tory Gerlach (3,000m – 2014; 5,000m - 2015); Mahogany Jones (200m – 2014); Kiah Seymour (400m – 2014, 2015); Danielle Gibson (triple jump – 2017); Danae Rivers (2017 – 800m).
Big 10 Relay Champions (1st team All-Big 10) – Distance Medley Relay (Lindsay Scottoline, Cheryl Green, Tracey Brauksieck, Jenny Stevens - 2003); 4 x 400 Meter Relay (Shana Cox, Briene Simmons, Aleesha Barber, Dominique Blake) – 2006, 2007, 2008, (Barber, Fawn Dorr, Shavon Greaves, Gayle Hunter) – 2009, (Doris Anwanyu, Caitlin DeFusco, Fawn Dorr, Shavon Greaves) - 2010, (Doris Anyanwu, IjeomaIheoma, Shavon Greaves, Megan Duncan) – 2011, (Dynasty McGee, Mahogany Jones, Tichina Rhodes, Kiah Seymour) – 2014.
Big 10 Freshman of the Year – Donna Fidler (1996); Shavon Greaves (2008); Danae Rivers (2017).
Big 10 Athlete of the Year – Connie Moore (2004); Jennifer Leatherman (2006).
Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year – John Gondak (2017).
Big 10 Athlete of the Track Championships – Kiah Seymour (2014)
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year – Chi-Chi Aduba (2003); Bridget Franek (2009 – track); Gayle Hunter (2009 – field); Mahogany Jones (2014 – track); Rachel Fatherly (2016 – Field); Danae Rivers (2017 – Track).
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Division Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year - John Gondal (2017).
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Division Assistant Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year – Patrick Ebel (2016).