JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bucknell track and field opened competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Meet Thursday at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium. Senior John Westwood represented the Bison men in the 1,500-meter, while senior Dayna Simone competed in the javelin and sophomore Christine Bendzinski ran in the 1,500-meter race. 

Reaching the NCAA East Preliminary round for the first time in his career, Westwood finished 46th in the event with a time of 3:58.09. The senior entered with a seed time of 3:45.04, which ranks third in school history.

“L.J. had a great season and although he struggled today, the improvement he showed this year was incredible,” said head coach Kevin Donner.

Westwood finishes his career at Bucknell as a six-time All-Patriot League selection, doing most of his damage in relays. He is a two-time Patriot League champion in the 4x800 relay and a two-time winner in the distance medley relay. This year, Westwood won the title in the 1,000m during the indoor season at the IC4A Championships, while being named to the Academic All-Patriot League squad.  

Although she won her flight, Simone finished 20th out of 48, recording a heave of 146-10. The senior exceeded her overall seed, as she entered the event with the 39th best throw in the region. Her mark of 149-8 helped her earn All-Patriot League honors at the outdoor championships and ranks fourth all-time in program history. Simone is also a two-time All-East selection. 

“Dayna hit a nice throw on her first attempt and that is what won her flight,” said Donner. “Her 20th-place finish exceeded her seed by quite a bit and we are very proud of the career she had here at Bucknell.”

Bendzinski completed her sophomore season Thursday, finishing 27th in the race with a time of 4:25.41. Bendzinski entered with a seed time of 4:19.99, which is a Bucknell school record.

“Chrissy was in real good position with 400 to go, but then her legs got heavy and didn’t have her usual finish,” said coach Donner. “She ran a lot of quality races recently and didn’t seem to recover enough. This meet was a great experience for her and now she and I know what it will take to advance.”

Bendzinski had a fantastic sophomore campaign. She earned All-Patriot League honors in five events, including titles in the mile and 4x800 relay events. She won the 1,500-meter race at the ECAC Championships, becoming one of three Bison in program history to win an individual title. She was named to three Academic All-Patriot League teams (cross-country, indoor and outdoor track and field) and was voted to the CoSida Academic All-District Team.

Bucknell resumes competition Friday when senior Grant Reynolds competes in the 110-meter hurdles, which will be held at 5:30 p.m.