LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women’s track and field team competed in its first scored meet of the season on Saturday, hosting the annual Gulden Invitational at Gerhard Fieldhouse. The Bison, who were picked first in the Patriot League’s preseason poll, turned in six first place finishes and two new program top-10 marks to finish first of nine teams in the full-day competition.
“Our women fought through some adversity this past week,” said head coach Kevin Donner, “and I am very proud of how we responded today. We showed great balance across all of the events. We have not won this meet since 2010, so we are walking away very pleased.”
The Bison compiled 199 points as a team, well ahead of second-place Mount St. Mary’s which combined for 66 points. Towson finished third with 57 points, while St. Francis (55), Howard (54), East Stroudsburg (42), Bloomsburg (38), Shippensburg (33) and Chicago State (14) rounded out the field.
Sophomore Jenn Silvestri turned in program top-10 marks in both of the events in which she competed, racing her way onto the list in the 60 meter hurdles and the 500 meter run. She finished second in the longer event with a time of 1:16.47, placing her 10th all-time, and she claimed third place in the hurdles, becoming the sixth-fastest performer in program history with a time of 9.12.
Junior Kim Nagotko also turned in strong performances in the sprint events, beginning with a sixth place finish in the finals of the 60 meter hurdles. Nagotko, who is the third-fastest performer in the event in program history, raced to a time of 7.86, just six one-hundredths off of her career-best. The sprinter also dominated in the 200 meter dash, taking first place with a time of 25.38.
Bucknell’s strength in the distance events was on full display on Saturday, as Bison won three of the races and swept the top spots in several others. Junior Kylie Pearse led a Bucknell sweep of the 1000 meter run, finishing in a time of 2:59.20, and was followed closely by juniors Betsy Edinger (2nd - 2:59.56) and Morgan Roche (3rd – 3:00.75). Junior Montana DiPietrantonio and freshman Catherine Scott claimed the top two spots in the 3000 meter run, turning in times of 10:09.53 and 10:13.27, respectively. Junior Justine Schnell finished first in the mile, a race in which the Bison earned five of the six scoring spots, with a time of 5:10.53, while sophomore Deanna Godby turned in a time of 17:59.57 in the 5000 meter run to finish second, just ahead of junior Zoe Gaston (3rd – 18:18.47), sophomore Meghan Carroll (4th -18:28.24) and junior Michelle Golden (5th - 18:30.21).
The Bison’s 4x800 meter relay team also raced to a first place finish, as the quartet of senior Emily Waksmunski, Pearse, freshman Seline Tan Torres and Roche combined for a time of 9:45.82, while sophomore Sophia Nnadi highlighted a strong outing for the field athletes, taking first in the shot put with a heave of 42-02.00.
The Bison will continue to prep for the upcoming Patriot League Championships with two competitions next weekend, with part of the squad remaining in Lewisburg to compete at the Bison Open & Multi and the rest of the team traveling down the road to University Park, Pa. for the Penn State National Invitational. Both meets are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 and will continue through Saturday, Feb. 1.