LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell men’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 second in the Patriot League’s preseason poll, turned in eight first place finishes and a new program record to finish first of eight teams in the full-day competition.
“Our men were challenged by a very good Shippensburg team,” said head coach Kevin Donner, “and I was very pleased with how hard our men competed. It was our first true test in which we had guys compete in multiple events, and I would say we passed the test.”
The Bison compiled 200.50 points as a team, to outperform second-place Shippensburg which combined for 159 points. Howard finished third with 63 points, while East Stroudsburg (53), St. Francis (37), Mount St. Mary’s (34.50), Chicago State (11) and Bloomsburg (0) rounded out the field.
Junior Christian Lupica, who set school records in the 60 meter hurdles and the 300 meter dash in December’s Bison Opener, broke his own standard in the hurdles in Saturday’s competition, finishing first in the finals of the event with a time of 7.92, a mark that also broke the Gerhard Fieldhouse record. Lupica earned his second title of the day in the 200 meter dash, winning the race in a time of 21.85.
Sophomore Anthony Menza, sophomore John Westwood and senior Eric Balaban all earned first-place points for the Bison in their events as well, taking top honors in several of the track events. Menza raced to a time of 1:05.17 in the 500 meter run, Westwood produced a 1:54.29 performance in the 800 meter event and Balaban endured to win the 5000 meter race with a time of 15:27.41. The mile also featured a dominant Bucknell outing, as the Bison took three of the top four spots. Junior Michael McGowan finished first with a time of 4:16.01, edging out senior Chris Oesterlin (3rd – 4:19.22) and junior Andrew Garcia-Garrison (4th – 4:20.29).
Senior Ray Holmes’ win in the triple jump with a distance of 49-05.00 highlighted a successful day for the Bucknell field athletes, while juniors Kevin Tapper and Jack Fellows also turned in solid performances. Tapper took second in the triple jump (49-02.25), while Fellows took third in both the weight throw (58-04.75) and the shot put (50-01.75).
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.