EASTON, Pa. – Led by Christine Bendzinski’s time of 21 minutes, seven seconds, which was good for the individual title, the defending Patriot League champion Bucknell women’s cross country team successfully retained its title on Saturday, claiming the top four spots in the individual standings, becoming the first team in Patriot League history to do so. The Bison took home a league-high five of the possible 14 All-Patriot League awards at the 10-team event.

Bucknell dominated the race, finishing with a score of 23, topping last year’s total of 34. The Bison’s point total was the lowest by any team since Navy won with 23 in 2008, but that came in an eight-team field. Lehigh was the runner-up with a score of 75, followed by Holy Cross (78), Navy (122), Army West Point (124), Boston University (166), American (172), Loyola (205), Lafayette (260) and Colgate (303).

Bendzinski, named Female Performer of the Meet, becomes the fourth runner to win the Patriot League individual race in Bucknell history and the first since Leanna Nastase in 2006. Julie Sweitzer won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998, while Becki Marshall won three-straight titles from 1999-2001. Bendzinski improved upon her third-place finish from last year’s championships.

Kate Scott was the runner-up in the race for the second consecutive season, completing the course in 21:22, while Sarah Chandler placed third in 21:25 and Colleen Buckley came in fourth in 21:36, respectively, giving Bucknell four First-Team All-Patriot League honorees. Bendzinski, Chandler and Scott earn First Team All-Patriot League honors for the second straight season, while Buckley earns her first all-league citation.

Bucknell’s next four runners finished in the top 20 of the field. Running in her final league championship, Elizabeth Sheprow finished 13th with a time of 22:06, earning Second Team All-Patriot League honors. Anna Chiodo-Ortiz (22:12) and Margaret Thomson (22:14) just missed all-league status, finishing 16th and 17th, respectively, while Jenna Farmer placed 20th in 22:30.

Grace Loh turned in a solid performance in the field of 109 runners, finishing 23rd in 22:33, followed by Christine O’Kane (27th) and Lauren Gronbeck (45th).

“That was definitely our best race of the season,” said head coach Kevin Donner. “I knew our top three would place high. However, Colleen ran incredible to finish fourth and it was great to see Elizabeth make the all-league team as our fifth finisher. We will get back to work tomorrow with a long run and get ready for regionals.”

Donner was named Patriot League Coach of the Year following the meet. He has won the award in women’s cross country six times in his 16 years at Bucknell. 

Bucknell has now won 10 Patriot League titles in program history.

The Bison will now turn their attention to the NCAA Mid-Athletic Regional Championships, which will be hold at Penn State on Friday, Nov. 11.