BUDAPEST, Hungary – Five members of the Penn State track & field team traveled to the Hungarian capital city for the 2023 World Athletics Championships that took place from August 19-27. Joe Kovacs’ bronze medal in the shot put (22.12m) highlighted Nittany Lion athletes in competition at the meet.
Kovacs earned his fifth World Championships medal, collecting his first bronze to go along with his two World Championship titles and two runner-up finishes. Penn State’s school record holder in the shot put is also a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the event.
Handal Roban, the 2023 NCAA Bronze medalist in the indoor and outdoor 800 meters for the Nittany Lions, finished his 2023 competition season ranked No. 33 in the world in the event. He posted a 1:46.86 in the event in his first World Championships appearance. The middle-distance phenom competed for St. Vincent & the Grenadines at the World Championships, the nation for which he holds four national records. Roban will return to the track for Penn State for his sophomore campaign in 2024.
Also competing in the 800, Nittany Lion legend Isaiah Harris competed in a tough, strategic qualifying heat in his second World Championships, finishing with a 1:48.00, missing a automatic trip to the semifinals by three hundredths of a second.
Nittany Lion coaches Ryan Foster and Nathan Ott also traveled to Budapest in 2023. Foster, who mentored Roban to his pair of NCAA bronze medals this season, traveled with the Nittany Lion star and coached him as a member of the St. Vincent & the Grenadines national team. Ott accompanied four women’s hammer throwers as their coach for the 2023 World Championships. He guided former Nittany Lions operations assistant and volunteer assistant coach Nayoka Clunis to a trip to the hammer throw finals as a member of team Jamaica. Clunis became the first Jamaican hammer thrower ever to make the hammer throw finals at the World Championships.
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