Did you hear about the Penn State athletic team that won consecutive national championships in 2017 and 2018?
Wrestling? Women’s volleyball?
No, in this case it’s the Penn State Women’s Club Track and Field team, which won the NIRCA (National Intercollegiate Running Club Association) Spring Track & Field National Championships in Shelbyville, Indiana on April 14. The team won last season, as well.
Marley O’Brien, a 2016 Pittston Area graduate, was a big part of the team’s consecutive titles, winning gold in the shot put and discus both years. Her discus throw of 34.46 meters (113 feet) broke the NIRCA National Champions club record. Her winning shot throw was 10.25 meters (33.6 feet.)
As a senior at Pittston Area, O’Brien won District 2 medals in shot put and javelin.
She was also on the Lady Patriots volleyball and basketball teams. When she enrolled at Penn State’s University Park campus she wanted to continue playing one of her sports at the club level.
She decided on throwing because it’s easier to manage class and practice schedules in an individual sport than in a team sport.
“If I have to miss practice, I’m not letting a team down,” she said.
She’s added 11 feet to her best high school discus throw and two feet in the shot put. O’Brien attributes the growth to weight training.
“In high school, I didn’t lift much, now I’m lifting regularly,” she said.
Though javelin is not sanctioned at the NIRCA National Championships, O’Brien set a Penn State Club jav record in an invitational meet as a freshman throwing 36.26 meters (119 feet.)
The club team competes in invitational meets against Division II and III varsity teams such as Millersville, Susquehanna and Bucknell.
O’Brien is a sophomore kinesiology student with physical therapy as a career goal. She’s the secretary for the men’s and women’s volleyball student sections.
She’s from Duryea. Her parents are Pat and Tom O’Brien.