LEWISBURG, Pa. – Two weeks have passed since the Bucknell track and field team competed at the 2014 Patriot League Championships, and the squad is prepared to tackle one final meet in the indoor season: the ECAC and IC4A Championships, held on Saturday and Sunday at Boston University in Boston, Mass. Both the men’s and the women’s squad faced tough competition at the league meet, and the men recorded the highest team placement, finishing second with 173 points behind a strong Navy team that brought in 201.83 points. The Bison women finished in third with a point total of 99.50, as Boston University took the team title with 210 points and Lehigh claimed the runner-up spot with 130 points. Bucknell will meet many of its conference foes again on the track in Boston, and the squad will be look for more outstanding individual outings, as well as an improvement upon last year’s team performances.
While the Bison were not able to outscore their competitors at the Patriot League Championships, there were some very noteworthy performances that took place in Gerhard Fieldhouse. On the men’s side senior Dennis Logan was an unstoppable force. He started his Patriot League campaign on Saturday evening as the second leg on the men’s 4x800 relay, and he fought through an aggressive race, filled with pushing and shoving, to run a blazing split that gave the Bison good positioning and allowed the quartet to finish in second, just behind Army. Logan continued his campaign the next day in the 500m, coming in fourth with a personal best time of 1:05.49, but was not done yet. With only two events remaining and the score tight, Logan received the baton from senior Tyler Erhard in the distance medley and ran a blazing 49.73 on the 400m leg to put Bucknell, which eventually finished third in the event, into first moving into the third leg.
In the sprint events, junior Christian Lupica continued his reign as king of the 60m hurdles. Lupica turned in a first place finish in the event with a time of 7.95, and then came back minutes later to tackle the 60m final, finishing third in 6.90, just ahead of senior Patryk Najbar (6th in 6.98), senior Jacob Eaton Hall (7th in 7.01) and senior Kamal Riley (8th in 7.06). Najbar continued on the success of the Bucknell men’s sprinters, finishing in third in the 200m dash with a time of 21.93.
In the field events, senior Ray Holmes turned in outstanding performances in both long jump (23-11.75) and triple jump (49-03.75), claiming first place in both events. Holmes was honored with Patriot League Field Athlete of the Meet award, marking the first time that a Bison has received the honor since 2009. Junior Kevin Tapper, who also placed sixth in the 400 with a time of 49.61, jumped alongside Holmes, finishing second in the triple jump with a huge leap of 48-00.50 and sixth in long jump with a mark of 22-09.75. Junior Jack Fellows was the leader for the Bison in the throwing ring, finishing third in the weight throw with a heave of 61-04.75 on Saturday, and returning on Sunday afternoon to lead the Bison to a 2-3-4 finish in the shot put with a throw of 54-01.25.
On the women’s side, sophomore Jenn Silvestri continued her string of excellent performances in the 60m hurdles, turning in a personal best time of 8.91 in the semifinals and racing to a sixth place finish with a time of 8.94 in the finals. She didn’t stop there however, going on to turn in a big fifth place finish in the 500 with a time of 1:16.35, and concluding her weekend with the final event of the meet, the 4x400. As the third leg, Silvestri made a huge move, running a 56.66 to put the Bison in second place as she handed off to senior Jennifer Zymet. Zymet, who finished sixth in the 400 earlier in the day with a time of 57.99, was able to drop her time during the relay, using her 56.90 split to give the Bison a second place finish and catapult them over Navy in the final team standings.
The women’s middle distance runners were also very successful, as the 4x800 relay finished second. Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year Emily Waksmunski, who also finished second in the 1000 with a time of 2:55.98, was a huge player in this race, as she led off with a stellar split of 2:14.95. Senior Hana Casalnova also played a major role in the team event, turning in a blazing 2:13.08 to anchor the relay to a second place finish. Casalnova then ran brilliantly in the 800m race on Sunday, finishing second with a time of 2:16.80.
In the field events, senior Emily Ando was a surprise high jumper for the weekend, clearing 5-03.00 to claim a fifth place finish. Ando was not done with the vertical jumps however, as she vaulted an impressive 11-03.75 to tie for third in the pole vault on Sunday morning. In the throwing ring, sophomore Abigail Brundage proved that predictions mean nothing in track and field. She eased her way through the first round of throwing to make it to finals, and unleashed a massive throw of 42-03.25 to take third place in the shot put and upset the rankings.
With these impressive performances behind them, the Bison will be heading out to Boston University to compete, with the men taking on the field in the IC4A competition and the women battling in the ECAC.
“The IC4A-ECAC Championships is always a great meet for our top athletes to gain exposure and get experience against top-flight competition,” said head coach Kevin Donner. “It allows our athletes to see where they stack up with the top competitors on the East Coast.”
Not surprisingly, the men’s team will be bringing quite a few sprinters to the meet. Eaton-Hall, Riley and Najbar will be entered in the 60m dash, and will try to run themselves into the final that will take place on Sunday. In the 200m, Najbar will be joined by freshman Malachi Bostic-Wattley, who had a great run at the Patriot League meet, missing the finals of both the 60m and 200m by tenths of a second. Lupica will be running alone in the 60m hurdles, hoping to break his school record in the event for the sixth time this season.
Sophomore Anthony Menza will be competing in the 400, freshman Jacob Ashkettle will be running the 500m and sophomore Ryan Johnson will test himself in the 800m. The trio of sophomore John Westwood, junior Alex Jagelsky and senior Tyler Erhard will find themselves running together in the 1000m race, while junior Andrew Garcia-Garrison will be the lone Bison in the mile.
Off the track, the men will be competing in both the long jump and the triple jump, represented by Holmes, Tapper and senior Alex Prieto. The throwing circle will be a sea of orange, as Fellows, freshman Joseph Breen and junior Brian Monahan will all throw the shot. Fellows will also represent the Bison in the weight throw.
For the women, this meet will be business as usual for the veteran runners. Junir Kim Nagotko will run in the 200m, the shortest race for the women all weekend, while in the 500m, both Zymet and Silvestri will seek to improve their times on Boston’s fast track. In the middle distance events, Casalnova will be running the 800m, the duo of Waksmunski and junior Betsy Edinger will take on the 1000m race and junior Montana DiPietrantonio will be the lone Bison in the 5k. The women will also put together a 4x400 relay and a 4x800 relay, while sophomore Sophia Nnadi will find herself in the throwing ring at Boston as the only thrower qualified for the meet. Nnadi will compete in the shot put, her strongest event.
“We have a lot of athletes who have a chance to make finals and score some points”, said Donner, who is confident that this will be a productive and successful meet for his student-athletes. “These competitions have traditionally been strong for our squad, and I look forward to seeing some improvement from our performances at the conference meet.”
While the multi events will be contested on Friday evening, the action for the Bison will begin on Saturday at the Boston University Track and Field Pavilion in Boston, Mass. The men’s events will kick off at 10 a.m., and the women’s competition will follow at 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, the men and women will alternate events beginning at 9:30 a.m. Live results for the meet will be available here.