GENEVA, Ohio – Faith DeMars and Tyler Merkley earned podium finishes as the Penn State track & field team competed in day one of the 2023 Big Ten Indoor Championships on Friday, Feb. 24.
DeMars’ personal best 16:07.65 won the women’s 5,000-meter run by over a second over the second-place finisher. Tyler Merkley posted a 72-4.25 (22.05m) personal record throw on his final effort of the day to elevate himself to the third position.
The Nittany Lions scored points in six events, including the medal-winnning efforts from DeMars and Merkley.
For the women, a fourth-place effort from the women’s distance medley relay team of Hayley Kitching, Zoey Goldstein, Madaline Ullom, and Makenna Krebs posted a 11:14.86 to finish fourth overall. Chloe Royce scored 3,947 points to finish in fifth place in the women’s pentathlon, and Hailey Zurich tied for sixth in the pole vault with a 13-5 (4.09m) clearance.
On the men’s side, Luke Knipe posted a 16-6.75 (5.05m) clearance to finish seventh in the pole vault competition.
Penn State qualified quite a few athletes on either side for finals events on Saturday. Drew Maher started out by qualifying for the men’s mile finals with a 4:04.34 in the preliminary round. Kileigh Kane moved on in the mile for the women with a 4:49.48.
In the men’s 400m, Korbin Martino ran a 47.23 to earn a place in Saturday’s finals. In the 800m, three Nittany Lions qualified for the final round. Olivier Desmeules ran the fifth-fastest time in school history, a 1:47.29 effort, to lead Darius Smallwood (1:47.94) and Handal Roban (1:50.30) into the finals. Hayley Kitching (2:04.92) and Rachel Gearing (2:06.22) both qualified in the event for the women.
Smallwood ran a 1:17.16 in the 600m to qualify for his second finals of the competition, joining teammate Callum Dodds (1:16.70) in the championship round. Victoria Vanriele’s 1:30.17 gave her a spot in the finals on the women’s side.
The Nittany Lions will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 25 for day two of the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
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