LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell women’s track and field will send three athletes to the NCAA East Preliminary Meet in Tampa, Florida, on May 24-26. The qualifying lists were released by the NCAA on Thursday and included Maura Fiamoncini, Christine Bendzinski, and Colleen Buckley.
Fiamoncini has the top javelin throw in the East Region and the third-best throw in the nation. The freshman’s top distance was 184-5 while winning the Jim Taylor Invitational. Seeded behind her in the top five in the East are Florida senior Avione Allgood (182-10), Southern Miss freshman Callie Jones (179-11), Auburn junior Kylee Carter (179-9), and Memphis junior Ashley Pryke (179-0). Only Stanford junior Mackenzie Little (192-4) and North Dakota State senior Alyssa Olin (191-6) have better throws in the nation this season.
Fiamoncini won the Patriot League title in the javelin with a throw of 166-3. That was over 26 feet better than the runner-up finisher. The Bison rookie will be a part of a talented group of freshmen at the East Preliminary Meet with five of the top 10 throwers in their first season of collegiate competition.
“Maura has been very consistent all season,” Bucknell head coach Kevin Donner said. “She has won five of her six meets and averages in the 52-53 meter range. I believe that is just as important as her big PR.”
Bendzinski qualified for the meet in two events, highlighted by her time in the 1,500-meter run (4:16.54) that ranks ninth in the East. If she holds seed that would be good enough to make the NCAA Championships, which take the top 12 performers in each event. The senior also has her eyes on qualifying for the national meet in the 5,000-meter run as her time (16:77.66) ranks 23rd in the East.
Bendzinski won the Patriot League title in the 1,500-meter run and was the runner-up finisher in the 5k. She will compete at the East Preliminary Meet for a third consecutive season.
“Chrissy will go down as the greatest female distance runner in our rich history,” Donner said. “Her range is incredible as she can run a fast 800 as well as a fast 5k. We didn't race her as often this entire year, so I believe she has another level left in her.”
Buckley is set to make her second appearance at the NCAA East Preliminary Meet and will compete in the 10,000-meter run. She enters with the 37th-best time (34:53.59) in the East. The junior has won the Patriot League title in the event in each of the last two seasons.
“Colleen has really developed well as a distance runner the past two years,” Donner said. “What she did at Indoor and Outdoor Patriot Leagues was incredible. We did not race her too much this spring, so I believe she is peaking at the right time.”
Bucknell has qualified eight distance runners and four javelin throwers to the East Regional over the last three seasons.