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 eight of its 14 All-Patriot League selections from the indoor season, including Christine Bendzinski ( 4X800 relay, mile, 1,000-meter), Colleen Buckley ( 3,000 & 5,000-meter), Emma Harris (4X800, DMR), Lauren Hudson (High-jump), Kafilat Oladiran (60H), Emily Ryan (DMR), Carli Lucke (60M), and Jenna Farmer (1,000-meter).
>> The current roster owns three individual school records, including the 60 H (Oladiran), 1,500m (Bendzinski), and the 5000m (Buckley).
>> Seven individuals on the team own top-10 times on Bucknell’s all-time list.
Last Season at Bison Opener
>> Bucknell had four individuals win events at last year’s Bison Opener.
>> Oladiran won the 60H, Salisbury won the 200m and 60M, while Harris won the 800m race, and Margaret Sliney won the 500m.
>> Papilli ran a leg in the 4X400 relay that recorded a first-place finish with an ECAC qualifying time.
>> The Bison return to action on Jan. 6 to host UMBC and Saint Francis (Pa.) in a tri-meet at Gerhard Fieldhouse.
SEASON PREVIEW: WOMEN'S Track and Field Team in Depth Look
The Bucknell women’s track and field program has had its share of success under head coach Kevin Donner. Since 2001 the Bison have won 12 Patriot League Indoor titles, eight cross country titles, and 13 outdoor Patriot League Titles. In total, they have won a combined 33 team championships under Donner and won all three (cross country, indoor, and outdoor titles) last season. Bucknell has brought in some nice new additions this year and hopes to try for another Triple Crown, making it the fifth time since 2005 they would’ve won all three conference championships in a year.
“Although we graduated some outstanding athletes, we still returned a lot of good athletes and feel as though we can contend for multiple titles once again. The Patriot League continues to improve, and we expect great competition from Boston, Army, Navy, Lehigh and Holy Cross. We have a very balanced team in all the event areas. The past couple of years, we have also stepped up beyond the Patriot League and done well at the ECAC-NCAA levels and hope to continue that trend,” head coach Kevin Donner said.
SPRINTS: Donner has praised the depth of the team’s sprinters entering this season. Kaitlin Salisbury is the leader of this team and holds the school record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.62 seconds, which she ran at last year’s Patriot League Championships and also maintains the record in the outdoor long jump with an impressive 19-8 ¾ leap. Carli Lucke, a senior, is also a key returner and helps provide so much depth for this women’s sprinting team. She currently holds the fifth-fastest time in program history with a 7.76 60-meter dash, a split she recorded at last season’s Indoor Patriot League Championships. Emily Ryan helps make this group one of the more veteran groups, as she is also a senior. The Wellesley, Massachusetts., native earned All-Patriot League honors last year and was an All-East performer after her contributions on the previous year’s 4X400 relay team at the Indoor Patriot League Championships, where she also helped the team earn a school record and gold medal in the DMR. Jennifer Dietrich will be a freshman to watch as she ran under 57 seconds in the 400-meter dash in high school.
HURDLES: The depth for the women’s hurdles squad is as good as it has been in a long time. Kafilat Oladiran leads the charge, as she set the school record in the 60h (8.77) two-seasons ago at the Indoor Patriot League Championships. She also ranks fifth all-time in the 60-meter dash with a lightning quick 7.80 split. Newcomer Cayleigh Glew and junior Janiel Slowly help make the Bison very hard to beat in the hurdles events. Glew ran a sub 15 second 100 hurdle in high school and slowly counteracted what her last name might imply by recording a 9.07 60 H which is a top-10 all-time mark in program history.
MIDDLE DISTANCE: The middle-distance events were a high strength for the team last season, and Donner hopes to continue that trend. Their efforts will be bolstered by Christine Bendzinski, who qualified for NCAAs in cross country this year and holds numerous school records. Bendzinski currently has the indoor school records in the mile (4:45.36) and 3,000-meter run (9:39.92), while also holding the program’s fastest time in the outdoor 1,500-meter race with a time of 17:00.24. Jenna Farmer is coming off quite a season last year. The Lewisburg native was the 3K champion at last year’s ECAC Championships and was also a runner-up finisher behind teammate Sarah Chandler in the 1000-meter run. Donner praised both of them for their versatility and ability to contribute in a lot of different ways. The Bison have a slew of quality freshman talent that includes Tierra Tardy, who ran a 2:09 in the 800-meter in high school and is the Maine record holder. Also joining the Bison are Gianna Mincone and Abigail Turco, who help provide some depth.
DISTANCE: The women’s distance runners performed at an extremely high level during their cross country season and is an area of the team that Coach Donner said is solid. Senior Colleen Buckley provides a spark for this team by how she performs and demonstrates leadership qualities during competition. Buckley was an NCAA preliminary qualifier in the 5K this past season and currently holds the school record with a time of 16:29.83. She’s also a five-time All-Patriot League selection and is joined by returners in Lauren Gronbeck, Margaret Thomson, and Anna Chiodo-Ortiz, as well as newcomers in Payton Capes and Madeleine Hunt. Gronbeck finished third at last season’s Patriot League Championships in the 10K and was sub 17-minutes for the 5K. Thomson is their top returner in the steeplechase, who last season recorded a 10:57.35 in the outdoor events, which was good enough to be ranked sixth on the top-10 all-time list. Chiodo-Ortiz scored in the 10K last spring and had a good cross country season. Their top newcomer is Capes, who was second at the Nike National meet in the 2K steeplechase and Hunt, who ran a 10:41 for a 3,200 in high school. Both are capable of running fast middle distance races as well.
JUMPS: The women’s jump squad has plenty of depth. Lauren Hudson leads the way and has had quite the success in her first three seasons as a Bison. The Amherst, New York., native holds the school record in both the indoor and outdoor high jump. She jumped an impressive 5-7 leap at last season’s Patriot League Indoor Championships and recorded a 5-5 ¾ outdoor championship jump. Salisbury holds the school record in the outdoor long jump 19-8 ¾ and adds an intimidating presence to the Bison. Lexi Forrestal scored in the high jump, and Alexa Auman scored in the triple jump at last season’s Patriot League Championships.
POLE VAULT: Chloe Brown is the top returning pole vaulter on the team and holds a personal record of 11-3 ¾ in the indoor pole vault. The top newcomer is Alexandra Butz who is great in both the pole vault and high jump. Butz recorded an impressive 5-5 high jump and 11-6 pole vault at Hereford High School.
THROWS: 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. Sophomore Ella Schultz and junior Molly Montalvo are returning medalists in the 20lb weight and shot put respectively. Montalvo also medaled in the PL outdoor hammer throw last season. Kasey Getkin scored in the javelin, and they have a ton of top newcomers that will be expected to contribute this season. Newcomers include Maura Fiamoncini who had the seventh farthest javelin throw in the country last year and Delia Sipe who threw over 44 feet in the shot put in high school.
MULTI-EVENTS: The Bison have three potential medalists on their multi-events team, which include, Isabella Bjorkeson, Alexa Auman, and Harper Stewart. They give the Bison a robust multi-event group both indoors and outdoors.