EASTON, Pa. – The Bucknell women's track & field team took second at the Patriot League Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which wrapped up Saturday at Lafayette's Metzgar Field Athletics Complex.
The Bison, who were seeking their second-straight Patriot League Triple Crown, finished with 141 points. Navy captured the team title with 178.5 points, bolstered by 13 top-three finishes on the final day. A bronze medal effort by the 4x400 relay team of Rebecca Rooney, Carli Lucke, Jennifer Dietrich and Tiara Tardy helped Bucknell hold off Lehigh, which rounded out the top three with 134 points.
"Our women had a slow start to the day, and it seemed like we just couldn't get any momentum going," said head coach Kevin Donner. "Our top-level athletes had outstanding weekends, but some of our key depth people struggled. Second place is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when a very strong Navy team was firing on all cylinders. Lehigh, Army and Boston University also had great meets, and it's great to see this league improving. We should see many athletes at NCAAs."
Christine Bendzinski capped her storied career by winning a gold medal in the 1,500-meter run and finishing second to Colleen Buckley in the 5,000-meter run. Bendzinski, who was the runner up in the 1,500-meter run at the past three Patriot League Outdoor Championships, broke through to top the podium by crossing the line in 4:24.78, nearly three seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Buckley, who on Friday won the 10,000-meter run, added a gold medal in the 5,000-meter run to her collection. She posted a time of 17:02.66 and was closely followed by Bendzinski, who clocked in at 17:03.40. At the 2018 Patriot League Indoor Championships, the duo finished 1-2 in the 3,000-meter run to help the Bison edge Army West Point for the team title; just as they did at the Patriot League Indoor Championships, Buckley and Bendzinski pulled away from the rest of the 5,000-meter run field, finishing nearly 10 seconds clear of the bronze medalist.
The 2018 Christy Mathewson Award winner, Bendzinski will graduate with six Patriot League track & field titles and two Patriot League cross country crowns. She was also a member of four 4x800 teams that secured Patriot League gold. This season, Buckley won the Patriot League's indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter run titles and was honored as the Athlete of the Patriot League Indoor Championships.
Beyond Bendzinski and Buckley, Lauren Hudson and Kaitlin Salisbury earned silver medals on Saturday. Hudson matched current assistant coach Amy Mantush's school record (5-7) en route to her runner-up finish in the high jump. Salisbury, who set school records in the 100-meter dash (11.84) and long jump (19-9.50) on Friday, posted Bucknell's third-best distance (39-10.50) in the triple jump to take home her second medal.
In total, Bucknell scored 10 medals at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships. On Friday, Maura Fiamoncini set a Patriot League Championship record (166-3) en route to her first-place finish in the javelin throw while Salisbury (long jump) and Molly Montalvo (hammer throw) each placed second. For her efforts, Fiamoncini was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Meet; she is the fifth Bison to earn this award and the first since Efe Agege in 2015.
On Saturday, 12 other Bison scored points, with four placing fourth. Salisbury took fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.91, .07 of a second shy of the school record she set in the preliminaries.
Kafilat Oladiran moved up in Bucknell's top-10 list en route to her fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. She crossed the line in 14.20, moving to second from fourth. Her time was .06 shy of the school record, which was set in 2007.
Margaret Thomson placed fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, posting a time of 10:54.74 that moved her to fifth from seventh in the Bison annals. While Delia Sipe improved her personal record in the shot put (44-5.25) to take fourth, she remained slotted eighth in Bucknell's top 10.
Alexis Auman (heptathlon, 4078 points) and Lauren Gronbeck (5,000-meter run, 17:27.97) claimed sixth outright while Alexandra Butz and Sydney Contrino tied for sixth in the high jump, each clearing 5-3. Tardy took seventh in the 800-meter run (2:13.64) while Bucknell's eighth-place finishers were Payton Capes-Davis (3,000-meter steeplechase, 11:07.02), Ella Schultz (shot put, 42-7.50) and Alison Varano (400-meter hurdles, 1:03.98).
The Bison next compete at the ECAC Outdoor Championships on May 12-13 in Princeton, N.J.
1. Navy, 178.5
2. Bucknell, 141
3. Lehigh, 134
4. Army West Point, 129
5. Boston University, 115.5
6. Holy Cross, 93
7. American, 28
8. Loyola, 25
9. Lafayette, 9
10. Colgate, 4