WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD
Rules of the Game
Women’s outdoor 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 recognized the following events for their 2019 Women’s Outdoor Championships:
- Running: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5,000, 10,000 meters (note: one mile = approx. 1600 meters).
- Relays: 4 x 100 meter, 4 x 400 meter relays.
- Hurdles: 100 meters, 400 meters, 3,000m steeplechase.
- 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: Hammer, shot put – 4 kg (8.75 pound ball), discus, javelin.
- All-around: Heptathlon (200 and 800 meters, 100 meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, and javelin).
Penn State Women’s Outdoor 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 10th (in 1976 and 1977), but the team won five Eastern AIAW outdoor championships. Penn State also competed in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), winning 11 outdoor team titles (the last five under legendary coach Teri Jordan). They placed second in the Big 10 three consecutive years (20003-2005), won the Big 10 Championship in 2008, and placing 4th nationally. They won the Big 10 4x100m relay in 2005-2006 and the 4x400m relay in 2006-2008. Aleesha Barber (100m hurdles) competed in the 2008 Olympics for Trinidad and Tobago, and Toyin Augustus competed in the same event for Nigeria. Perhaps the greatest Nittany Lion is Kathy Mills, a two-time national champion (3,000m in 1978, 5,000m in 1981).
The 2010 season was a spectacular one. The team won the last part of the Big 10 "triple crown" - championships in cross-country, and indoor and outdoor track; only Michigan (twice) and Wisconsin (4 times) have ever done this. This was the team's 3rd consecutive Big 10 outdoor tile. The team finished 4th at the National Championships, and was named Outdoor Scholar team of the Year. Individually, Bridget Franek was national champion in the 3,000m steeplechase; Karlee McQuillen was Big 10 silver medalist in the javelin, and won the Penn Relays in the event. Shavon Greaves was Big 10 champion in both the 100m and 200m, Fawn Dorr was Big 10 champion in the 400m and 400m hurdles, and Aleesha Barber was tops in the Big 10 in the 100m hurdles. Evonne Britton won the Junior National Championship in the 400m hurdles, and came in second in the 100m hurdles. At the World Junior Championships, she won a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles, and finished 6th in the 100m hurdles. In relays, Penn State won the 4x400m and 4x100m at the Big 10 Championships, and the 4x200at the Penn Relays (ECAC Division).
Beth Alford-Sullivan became head women’s track and field coach in 1999, succeeding Jordan, who is now PennState’s disabilities recreation director. Alford-Sullivan oversees the cross-country, indoor, and outdoor teams. In 2006, she succeeded legendary coach Harry Groves as head of the men’s teams as well. In 2010, Alford-Sullivan was named Big 10 Coach of the Year in all 3 women's track sports. In 2014,Alford-Sullivan left Penn State for similar duties at the University of Tennessee, she was succeeded by Assistant Coach John Gondak.
In 2018, the team finished 9th at the Big Ten Championships, 24th nationally, and 11th in combined cross-country/indoor track/outdoor track. Danae Rivers won the Big Ten Championship (1,500m) and was a 1st Team All-American, and Maddie Holmberg was also a 1st Team All-American (3rd place in heptathlon at the NCAAs) and was named Mid-Atlantic Region Field Athlete of the Year. Megan McCloskey also earned 1st Team All-American honors (high jump).
In 2019, Danae Rivers retained her Big Ten Championship in the 1500m and also was the gold medal winner in the 800m; She then earned 2nd Team All-American honors at the NCAA Championships in the 800m. Alexis Holmes was Big Ten Champion in the 400m. Brooke-Lynn Williams, Kiara Lester, and Rivers and Holmes were Penn Relays gold medalists in the sprint medley relay. Julia Paternain qualified for the NCAA Tournament in the 5000m
The home of Penn State outdoor track is the Nittany Lion Outdoor track on the east end of campus. The Multi-sport Facility on the northwest end of the track provides locker room, weight room, and training facilities.
1976-78, 1981-87, 1990
Big 10 Champions
2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014
Teri Jordan (1984-1999)
5 ECAC outdoor team championships
3-time Eastern Track Coach of the Year
1999 Coach – World Championships
3 Big 10 individual outdoor champions
16 outdoor All-America selections
2000 inductee – Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame
Beth Alford-Sullivan (1999-present)
2 national champions
32 Big 10 individual outdoor champions
7 Big 10 relay champions
57 outdoor All-America selections
6-time U.S. Mid-Atlantic Outdoor
Track & Field Coach of the Year
2004, 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Assistant Coach
5-time Big 10 Coach of the Year
Notable Players (outdoor honors)
2005-6 All-American (hammer)
2005-6 Big 10 champion (hammer)
2005 NCAA East Regional champion (hammer)
2006 Big 10 Track & Fld Athlete of the Yr
2006 Mid-Atlantic Track & Fld Athlete of the Yr
1978 national champion (3,000m)
1981 national champion (5,000m)
1978, 1981 All-American
2002-4 Big 10 champion (100m)
2002, 2004 Big 10 champion (200m)
2004 Big 10 Athlete of the Year
2010 Senior National Champion (200m)
6-time All-American (outdoors)
5 Big 10 titles (outdoors)
2006-2008 Mid-Atlantic Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year
2008 Big 10 Female Track Athlete of the Year
2008 National Champion (400m)
2012 Olympics - 5th place in women’s 4x400 m (Great Britain)
2007 Penn Relays Champion (3,000m steeplechase)
2007 Big 10 Freshman of the Year
2008 Big 10 champion (3,000m steeplechase)
2008, 2009 ECAC champion (3,000m steeplechase)
2010 NCAA champion (3,000m steeplechase)
2012 Olympics - 14th place finish in steeplechase (USA)
2007, 2008 Big 10 champion (400m hurdles)
2008 NCAA champion (4x400m)
2008 member Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Team
2010 Penn Relays ECAC champion (4x200m)
2010 Big 10 champion (100m hurdles, 4x400m)
2008 Big 10 champion (4x400m)
2009 Penn Relays champion (400m)
2009, 2010 ECAC champion (4x200m)
2010 Big 10 champion (400m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m, 4x400m)
National Champions – Kathy Mills (3,000m and 5,000m – 1977); Deshaya Williams (discus – 2003); Shana Cox (400 m – 2008); Bridget Franke (3,000m steeplechase - 2010)
All-Americans – 91 individual selections (including 6-time selectee Connie Moore), and 4 relay teams.
Big 10 Individual Champions - Chi-Chi Aduba (long jump, 4 x 100m relay – 2004) ;Aleesha Barber (400m hurdles – 2007, 100m hurdles – 2008, 2010); Erica Bosler (800m – 1998); Evonne Britton (100m hurdles - 2013); Shana Cox (400m – 2005-07, 200m – 2006-07); Megan Duncan (400m hurdles – 2011); Fawn Dorr (400m, 400m hurdles - 2010); Bridget Franek (3,000 m steeplechase – 2008); Shavon Greaves (100m, 200m - 2009, 200m - 2010); Brittney Howell (heptathlon - 2014); Mahagony Jones (100m - 2013, 200m - 2014); Lauren Kenney (javelin - 2013); Melissa Kurzdorfer (hammer - 2014); Jennifer Leatherman (hammer – 2005-6); Laura Loht (javelin – 2012); Karlee McQuillen (javelin – 2011); Kara Millhouse (10,000m – 2011-12); Connie Moore (100m – 2002-4, 200m – 2002, 2004); Ja’Nai O’Connor (shot put – 2004); Kiah Seymour (400m hurdles - 2014); Shakeema Walker (triple jump – 1999, 2000); Deshaya Williams (discus – 2000); Danielle Gibson (triple jump, 2017); Danae Rivers (1,500m – 2018), 2018-19, 800m - 2019); Alexis Holmes (400m – 2019).
Big 10 Relay Champions (1st team All-Big 10) - 4 x 100m relay - Brooke Robinson, Kamilah Salaam, Sara Shoaff, Shana Cox (2005); Monique Walker, Kamilah Salaam, Sara Shoaff, Shana Cox (2006); Fawn Dorr, Shavon Greaves, Doris Anyanwu, Megan Duncan (2010); 4 x 400m relay - Kim Markel, Briene Simmons, Monique Walker, Shana Cox (2006); Dominique Blake, Shana Cox, Gayle Hunter, Briene Simmons (2007); Aleesha Barber, Dominique Blake, Shana Cox, Gayle Hunter (2008); Fawn Dorr, Shavon Greaves, Caitlin Defusco, Aleesha Barber (2010); Mahogany Jones, Kiah Seymour, Dynasty McGee, Tichina Rhodes (2014).
Big 10 Freshman of the Year – Kim Kelly (1992); Donna Fidler (1996); Bridget Franek (2007); Danae Rivers (2017).
Big 10 Athlete of the Year – Connie Moore (2004); Jennifer Leatherman (2006).
NCAA East Regional Champions – Chi-Chi Aduba (triple jump – 2004); Shana Cox (400m – 2006); Jennifer Leatherman (hammer – 2005); Connie Moore (200 meters, 2003-4); Christen Clemson (javelin – 2007).
Mid-Atlantic Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year - Connie Moore (2004); Shana Cox (track -2006, 2007); Jennifer Leatherman (Field – 2006); Mahagony Jones (2013), Rachel Fatherly (Field – 2015); Dannielle Gibson (Field – 2016) Maddie Holmberg (Field – 2018).
Pan American Games Champions – Connie Moore (4 x 100m relay, 2004); Deshaya Williams (junior discus 1999).
U.S. Junior National Champions - Evonne Britton (400m hurdles, 2010)
World Junior Championships - Evonne Britton (3rd, 400m hurdles, 2010)
2012 Olympics – Bridget Franek (USA – steeplechase, 14th place); Dominique Blake (Jamaica – 4/400 relay), Shana Cox (Great Britain – 4x400 m relay 5th place); Kirsten Nieuwendam (Surinam – 200m).