LEWISBURG, Pa. – Recent Bucknell graduate Christine Bendzinski, a 14-time Patriot League champion in cross country and track and field, has been selected as the 2017-18 Patriot League Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Her award completes a sleep for Bucknell as rising senior Jeff Gottesman (Baseball) was named the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Monday.
After voting conducted by the league’s athletic communications staffs, Bendzinski was chosen as the top female scholar-athlete among all of the league-sponsored sports. The Scholar-Athlete of the Year from each sport is placed on the ballot for the overall top honor.
Bendzinski is the fourth Bucknell student-athlete to receive the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, and the first since Lauren Wible (Softball) in 2005. Lori Houck (Women’s Basketball) won the award in 2000, while Becki Marshall (Cross Country/Track and Field) earned it in 2001.
It just the fourth time in league history that the same school won the award on both the men’s and women’s side and the first time since Navy accomplished the feat in 2007. Bucknell has now done it twice as Ron Hess (Track and Field) joined Houck to give the Bison a sweep of the academic honors in 2000.
Bendzinski racked up academic awards during her four years at Bucknell, including Third Team Academic All-America status following her final season. A cell biology/biochemistry major with a 3.84 GPA, she is a four-time sport specific Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a nine-time Academic All-Patriot League selection, and an eight-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.
Athletically, Bendzinski was a 14-time Patriot League champion (nine individual, five relay), earning two titles in cross country and 12 during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. She was a national qualifier in cross country and qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round in track and field three times. She was the driving force behind the Bison winning three cross country league titles, three indoor track and field titles, and three outdoor track and field titles over the past four seasons.
In addition to her athletic and academic accomplishments, Bendzinski was a research assistant at Bucknell working on microscopic properties of deformed skeletal muscle. She also was a research intern at Bradley, Foster, & Sargent, Inc., and performed volunteer work at St. Francis Hospital, Eastern Connecticut Health Network and Appalachian Mountain Club.
In order to be considered for Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.20 cumulative GPA, be a starter or key player in his or her sport, and have reached sophomore academic status. Kendall Ham (Women’s Soccer) also earned a sport specific Scholar-Athlete of the Year award from Bucknell in 2017-18.