Setting the Scene
What: Bison Opener
When: Friday-Saturday- Dec. 1-2
Where: Gerhard Fieldhouse- Lewisburg, Pa.
About The Bison
>> Friday marks the first of five indoor home meets for Bucknell this season.
>> Bucknell returns All-Patriot League honoree Nicholas Lombardo, who earned all-league citations in the long jump and high jump events during the indoor campaign.
>> Lombardo owns the school record in the high jump (6-11), while holding a top-five mark in the long jump (24-0 ¾).
>> Scott Gulizio owns the fourth-fastest time in the 800-meter with a time of 1:51.54.
>> William Melchionni ranks second all-time in the 300-meter with a time of 34.75.
>> Drew Dorflinger owns a top-10 mark in the 5,000-meter with a time of 14:22.24.
Last Season at Bison Opener
>> Bucknell won four individual events while earning five IC4A qualifiers at last year’s Bison Opener.
>> David Frering (mile), Prizant (pole vault), Fay (pole vault) and Lombardo won their respective events at the season-opening meet.
>> Qualifying for the IC4A Championships included Lombardo, Prizant, Fay, Gulizio (800m) and Breen (shot put).
>> The Bison return to action on Jan. 6 to host UMBC and Saint Francis (Pa.) in a tri-meet at Gerhard Fieldhouse.
SEASON PREVIEW: BISON MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD IN DEPTH LOOK
Lewisburg, Pa. - The Bucknell men’s track and field program has seen steady improvement from year-to-year under Head coach Kevin Donner. The Bison have won four Patriot League Outdoor Championships and one Patriot League Indoor Championship under his tutelage. The Bison lost some of their talents from last year’s team that finished fourth during the indoor and outdoor seasons, but are a team that has brought in a quality freshman class, and a group that expects to finish near the top of the league standings this year.
“Our depth and balance on the men’s side is better than it has been the past two years. We are still a young team with not a lot of seniors, so the future looks very bright. We’ve been fourth at the Patriot League Championships over the past two seasons, and I think we are ready to move up in the standings. We also have a few big hitters that can help us score major points at the IC4A Championships and are also capable of qualifying for NCAA Championships. I’m excited about how our freshman look so far. They look outstanding,” Donner said.
Donner has praised the depth of the team’s sprinters entering this season, led by William Melchionni. The junior holds top-10 times at Bucknell in the 200m, 300m, and 400m races, and was able to score in the 400-meter dash in last year’s Patriot League Indoor Championships. At the Bison Opener he set the school record in the 300m dash, with a time of 34.40, which was good enough to beat Christian Lupica’s 34.62 split established in 2014. Sophomore Jeffrey Brown has also burst on to the scene after recording two IC4A qualifications in the 60m and 200m dashes at the Bison Opener. In the 60 Brown ran an impressive 6.88 which put him fourth on the all-time list and went a blazing 22.55 in the 200-meter dash. Newcomers Brendan Bodisch, Alex Dessoye, and Tyler Wukitsevits are expected to contribute in their first season.
The middle-distance events were another strength area for the Bison last season. The efforts will be bolstered by the return of Scott Gulizio, who last year helped the 4x800 relay team win the bronze medal at the Patriot League Indoor Championships while also scoring in the 800-meter run and the DMR. He currently owns the fourth-fastest 800-meter time in program history with a split of 1:51.54, which he recorded last season. Sean Conway was selected as an All-East performer for his efforts in last year’s 4X800-meter relay team and will be joined by Brendan McGill, Conor McLaughlin, and Nick Pacelli as top returners, as well as a newcomer in Owen Concaugh.
The men’s distance runners hope to carry their momentum from a quality cross country season over to the track. Drew Dorflinger led the charge for the cross country team last year as a freshman and had quite a first year. Dorflinger finished 17th out of 109 competitors at the 2017 cross country Patriot League Championships. He ran a 14:18.15 which was good enough for sixth-best on the all-time top-ten list. The group also includes Will Bordash -- an IC4A qualifier last year in the 4X800 relay and First Team All- Patriot League in cross country in 2017 after placing seventh at the PL Championships -- and senior Kyle Adams, a two-time All-East Performer and a member of the 4X800 relay that won bronze last year at the Indoor Patriot League Championships.
This is a very strong event area for the Bison. Senior Nicholas Lombardo’s versatility will only help the team. He was a champion in the high and long jump at last year’s Patriot League Indoor Championships, while also earning bronze in the triple jump. Lombardo was also a Patriot League Field Athlete of the Meet in both indoors and outdoors in 2017. He will be joined by two proven competitors, Reggie Harris and Steve Bolger in the high jump and triple jump. Harris scored points during championship meets last season in the triple jump, while Bolger scored in both the long jump and high jump. Tyler Wukitsevits is a freshman to watch. He cleared 5-10 in the high jump in high school.
Matthew Fay is the team’s top returning pole vaulter. He qualified for NCAAs last season and will be joined by another returner in Maxwell Prizant, who finished 12th at the Patriot League Championships a few season ago. Newcomers will include Nicholas Marino and Brian Rubenstein.
Donner touts the historically consistent success of Bucknell throwers but also notes that this may be the most competitive set of events in the Patriot League. Junior Bo Burleigh made considerable strides in his second season with the Bison, including a third-place finish with a throw of 189-6 in the Javelin at last year’s Outdoor Patriot League Championships. Zach Ruiz also had some success last year, participating in the PL Championships in the shot put, discus, and hammer throw. They’re joined by a whole slew of freshman in Rhys Enderle, James Kelly, Adam Krombolz, and Jordan Montero.
The Bison have two multi-athletes on the team this year. Eric Regis, who had a top-ten finish in the Maroon and Gold Invite, and Grant Smith, who scored at last season’s PL Indoor Championships in the heptathlon (4,381).