In his first race in 11 months, Penn State sophomore Sincere Rhea ran within 12-100ths of his high hurdles PR Saturday on his home track in State College.
Rhea, a St. Augustine graduate and native of Maurice River Township in Cumberland County, won the 60-meter highs at the Nittany Lion Opener at the Horace Ashenfelter track in 7.88, not far off his PR of 7.76, set last February in the trials at the Big Ten Championships in Geneva, Ohio. He went on to place third in the Big Ten final in 7.82 and finished the year as the No. 2-ranked freshman in NCAA Division 1, behind only Brithton Senior of South Dakota, who ran 7.74 at the Summit League Championships in Fort Wayne, Ind.
In the early going in this COVID-delayed season, Rhea’s 7.88 ranks 8th in Division 1 and third in the Big 10, behind Jamal Britt of Iowa [7.85] and USC transfer Ayden Owens of Michigan [7.87].
On Saturday, Rhea edged Caleb Dean of Maryland, who was second in a personal-best 7.95.
Rhea also ran the 200 and placed second in 22.21 behind Nadale Buntin of Rutgers (via John P. Stevens High in Edison), who ran a PR 21.66. Buntin was competing in his first race in nearly two years, since transferring from Monmouth. Rhea has run as fast as 21.38 indoors
Rhea is No. 2 in Penn State history in the 60-meter highs, behind only Guy Rose (a graduate of Wayne Hills High in Passaic County), who ran 7.69 at the 2001 Big Ten Championships in State College.
No. 3 on the Penn State indoor hurdles list is Michael Timpson, who ran 7.82 in 1986. Timpson went on to spend nine years in the NFL and caught 42 passes for 484 yards and two TDs for the Eagles in 1997.