Penn State Club Cross Country was co-founded in 2003 by Penn State students Erica Marshall and Kristen Erny, with Marshall becoming our first Club President and Erny taking over her role the following year. Approximately 50 runners showed up to the first practice outside Rec Hall and, less than a month after forming, competed in the club’s first race: the Altoona Invitational.
In 2006, we competed for the first time under Penn State’s Club Sports Program and also became a member of the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA), a program founded by a PSU Club XC alum. We hosted the inaugural NIRCA National Championships at Lock Haven University where our men’s team placed fourth and our women’s team took home the national title (with all five scorers placing in the top 10 finishers). In the same year, we earned our first two dancers for THON by raising a total of $8,285.42 FTK.
It wasn’t until six years after the club’s creation that we met our biggest fan, Justin Kaufman. Justin was paired with us as our first THON family through the Adopt-A-Family program in 2009, but very quickly became involved in much more than just our THON efforts. To this day, he remains an active supporter, friend, and team dad to the entirety of Club XC.
In October of 2011, we hosted the first Nittany Lion Invitational, our annual home meet. The race was held in Port Matilda, PA and was recognized as a NIRCA Qualifier. The following month, we were blessed with our second THON family, the Bryce Carter family.
In 2013, our women became NIRCA Half Marathon National Champions for the first time, adding to their mounting collection of NIRCA National titles.
February of 2015 marks the beginning of Miles for Smiles, our annual 46-hour treadmill relay fundraiser benefiting THON. The event was held in a teammate’s apartment and raised $3,802.00 with the team running a combined total of 345.21 miles. A little over two weeks later, Club XC organized the first THAW 5k (as directed by the Club Sports Department) to contribute towards the inaugural THAW Festival. In the fall, we were paired with our third incredible THON family, the Gideon Fisher family.
The following year, our men earned their first national title at the NIRCA Half Marathon Nationals.In 2019, just weeks before THON, we were fortunate enough to be paired with our fourth THON family, the Corban Potter family. Later that year, the men’s team became NIRCA National Cross Country Champions for the first time in Club XC history (with five scorers running an average time of 25:44.60).
|NIRCA Cross Country Nationals||NIRCA Half Marathon Nationals|
|First Place Finishes||2006, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016||2019||2013, 2015, 2017||2016, 2017|
|Second Place Finishes||2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2017||2015, 2017||2016|