LEWISBURG, Pa. – Headlining a terrific day for the Bucknell sprint contingent at the Bison Outdoor Classic, junior Billy Melchionni won the 200-meter dash and also anchored the team's first-place 4x400-meter relay. The elite, two-day meet wrapped up in cold, damp conditions on Sunday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
The sprinters carried the day for the Bison men on day two. Melchionni (21.75) and Jeffrey Brown (21.98) finished 1-2 in a field of 39 competitors in the 200, and Alex Dessoye (7th, 22.46) and Steve Rizio (14th, 22.94) also ran very well.
Only about an hour later, in the final track event of the meet, the 4x400 relay squad of Rizio, Alex Dessoye, Robert Dessoye, and Melchionni earned a first-place finish with a time of 3:17.40. The team beat Duquesne by just over a second to take the top spot.
In the 400-meter run earlier in the day, Melchionni and Alex Dessoye finished second and third, just .30 seconds apart. Melchionni placed second with a time of 48.69, while Dessoye was third after clocking in at 48.99. Seton Hill's Dontay Jacobs won the event with a time of 48.25. Rizio (14th, 50.24) and Robert Dessoye (50.57) finished 14th and 17th for the Bison.
Brown added to his runner-up finish in the 200 with a third-place effort in the 100-meter dash. Brown covered the 100 meters in 10.74, just .01 off his career-best, which makes him the 10th-best performer in school history in that event.
"It was a solid meet for our men's track and field team," head coach Kevin Donner said. "However, I felt the highlight was the perfromance of our men's sprinters. They placed very high in all their events with very solid times considering the cold weather. They also competed in multiple events throughout the day. Sometimes as coaches, we want to find the threshold of being careful and being tough in adverse weather, and I felt they were very tough today. I felt the entire team was tough today and handled the adverse weather well. It may be cold at the league meet, but you still have to compete."
The hurdlers performed well in the adverse conditions. Ethan Dunne was the top-finisher in the 110-meter high hurdles, placing ninth with a time of 15.68. Matthew Barton finished 19th in 16.14, and he was also the team's top finisher in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, taking 16th in 56.47. Peter Onusconich was one place back in 17th in 56.51.
In the distance events, freshman Riley Gardner posted the top finish for the Bison with a sixth-place effort (9:00.59) in the 3,000 meters. Brian Babyak earned a top-10 finish in the 10K, finishing eighth with a time of 34:19.97. Scott Gulizio's 18th-place finish was Bucknell's best in the 800 meters (1:54.61).
In the field events, pole vaulters Nicholas Marino and Matthew Fay had strong meets. Marino, a freshman who continues to impress week after week, finished second, clearing 16-2 ¾. He trailed only Army's Lee Bares (16-11), the reigning Patriot League indoor champion who placed 15th at last season’s NCAA East Regional. Fay finished fifth at a height of 15-3, and David Kelly rounded out the vaulters contingent with a 14th-place standing after clearing 14-9.
Moving over to the throws, C.J. Falcioni was the top Bison in the hammer and shot put. He placed sixth in the hammer with a heave of 170-9 and 24th in the shot put with a mark of 44-9 1/2.
The Bison will next compete at the Bucknell Team Challenge on Saturday, Apr. 21.