LEWISBURG, Pa. – Christine Bendzinski finished first overall, and Bucknell took the top seven spots as it opened the 2017 cross country season with a win in a five-team field at the Bison Open on Friday night.

Bendzinski, the defending Patriot League champion, picked up right where she left off last season, winning the race by eight seconds with a time of 14:22 on the 4k course. Bucknell freshman Tiara Tardy and junior Jenna Farmer were next behind her in 14:30.

Junior Colleen Buckley, an All-Patriot League runner for the Bison last season, was right behind the top three Bison for a fourth-place finish overall. She was followed by teammates in freshman Ashley Blair, freshman Madeleine Hunt, and junior Anna Chiodo-Ortiz in fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.

“Our women had a plan of going out easy the first 2k and then try to negative split the second 2k,” Bucknell head coach Kevin Donner said. “We had a nice pack up front, which included a couple of freshmen in Tardy and Blair. Blair was a pleasant surprise. Bendzinski looked great, and Farmer Buckley were very solid.”

Junior Christine O’Kane crossed the line in 10th to give the Bison eight runners in the top 10. The race featured 67 runners from five schools, including Juniata, Loyola (Md.), Lycoming, and Susquehanna.

“We put in some good miles the past few days, and many of our runners put in a light workout right before the race,” Donner said. “Next week is our first 6k, which will be a true test.”

Bucknell is back in action when it travels to Penn State for the Spiked Shoe Invitational on Friday, Sept. 8.