JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thunder and lightning forced another delay on the second day of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminary Championships, but the temperamental Florida weather had nothing both a positive impact on the performance of the Bucknell men’s track and field team. Junior Christian Lupica and senior Tyler Erhard both took to the track at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium on Friday evening, each turning in strong races, but Lupica stole the show, breaking his own school record and advancing to the quarterfinals of his event on Saturday evening.
Lupica, who made his second consecutive appearance at the NCAA East Preliminary in the 110m hurdles, broke his own school record in his specialty event for the second time this season, crossing the finish line at 13.91. The junior, who won both the 110m and 400m hurdles at the Patriot League Championships to earn Track Athlete of the Meet honors, finished third in his heat and 18th overall in the first round to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals where he will fight to be one of the 12 competitors to advance to the National Championship meet. His time of 13.91 in the first round put him just four one-hundredths behind the 12th place finisher.
“It feels good to advance,” allowed Lupica after his performance, “but the race was not that special. I plan to go all out tomorrow to advance to Nationals.”
Erhard made his first appearance at the East Preliminary, competing in the 3000m steeplechase, and turned in a solid time of 9:21.03 in the first heat, placing 45th overall. The senior became just the eighth Bison to finish the race in under nine minutes at the IC4A Championships earlier this month, earning All-East honors and a selection to represent the Bison at this weekend’s NCAA meet.
"Tyler had a nice career for us," commented head coach Kevin Donner, "and although he did not end it the way we wanted, I am very proud of what he has done for our program. Christian looked very good and I believe the experience of competing in this meet last year has helped a lot. He is ready to roll tomorrow."
Lupica will return to the track on Saturday evening for the quarterfinals of the 110m hurdles. The event is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m., and the junior will race in the third heat for a berth in the NCAA Championships, which will take place from June 11 to 14 in Eugene, Oregon.