Bucknell Men's Track & Field Ousts Defending Champ Navy for first Patriot League Indoor Championship Since 1993
Feb. 19, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Behind six event victories and a conference record, the Bucknell men's squad won the Patriot League Indoor Track & Field Championships at Gerhard Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon. The Bison took a comfortable lead into the final events to secure the first team victory since 1993. Justin Hicks was named the Outstanding Track Athlete of the Meet and Kevin Donner received Coach of the Year Honors on their home turf.
Hicks, who was also the Patriot League Rookie of the Meet at the 2010 Championships, became the first Bison to earn top track honors since Matthew Forys in 2007. To claim the accolade, Hicks won both the 60 meters and 200 meters and helped the 4x400 relay to a fourth-place finish.
Hicks' strong showing began on Saturday when he set the Bucknell school record (6.84 seconds) in the 60-meter semifinals. On Sunday, he became the first Bison in program history to win the 60 meters, doing so in a time of 6.88 seconds. He later went on to victory in the 200 with another career-best time. At the longer distance, the junior finished in 21.88 seconds, tying the Patriot League record originally set by Colgate's Tyrone Russell in 2000. Hicks' 200 time also set a new Gerhard Fieldhouse mark and put him in second on the Bucknell top-10 list.
Finally, Hicks anchored the 4x400 relay that placed fourth in 3:21.41. Bucknell had the team title sewn up by the time the final event went off, however. With 185 points, the Bison topped second-place Navy's 176.25 points. Army was third with 106 points, followed by Lehigh (65), Lafayette (41.25), Colgate (29.5), American (10) and Holy Cross (7).
Bucknell entered Sunday with a 15-point lead over Navy. The Midshipmen made up that ground early in the day and took the advantage back after placing first and second in the mile. The lead again switched back to Bucknell in the 60-meter hurdles thanks to a strong Bison showing in which Robert Arent was second, Christian Lupica third and Dan Mularz tied for fifth. That put Bucknell back in front 73.50 to Navy's 70, and the Bison never trailed again.
The Orange and Blue continued to create space between itself and its opponents thanks to Hicks' win the 60, but he was not the only Bison to shine in the sprint. Lupica, whose only break after running 8.17 in the 60 hurdles lasted the length of the women's 60-meter hurdle final, came back for a third-place finish in the 60-meter dash. The freshman posted a career-best 6.97 in the race, ranking him fourth all-time at Bucknell. Lupica later placed second to Hicks in the 200 meters with yet another career best of 22.05 seconds.
Bucknell's wins continued in the 400 where Arent earned his third consecutive gold medal in the event with a time of 49.39 seconds. Tom Barr defended his shot put title with a school record of 55 feet, 6 ½ inches. He led a Bison trio of scorers that also included Quinten Marcott, who was second with a personal-record 53-1 ¾, and Stephen Koullias in fourth at 51-0 ¼.
Bucknell finished the championship meet with six event wins. In addition to today's gold medals were Andrew Powell in the heptathlon and Leonard Joseph in the weight throw on Saturday. The Bison throwers accounted for 40 points on the men's side and 22 more on the women's. Between the two squads, Bucknell claimed both shot put titles and a weight throw title.
Although they did not find themselves at the top of the podium, several more Bison did put up noteworthy performances on Sunday. Jordan Donaldson was second in the 800 (1:55.61) and fifth in the 400 (50.07) before joining the fourth-place 4x400 with Arent, Jacob Eaton Hall and Hicks. Eaton Hall was also fifth in the 500 (1:05.76). Alex Jagelsky, Tyler Erhard and Dustin Horning placed third, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 1,000 meters as well.
In the field events, Daniel Markwalter and Nathaniel Witter were part of a four-way tie for third place after clearing 15-9. The top six in the field all cleared the same height, but the two Bison dropped to third in a jump-off. The 15-9 was a career best for both as they are now tied for third in program history as well. Ray Holmes, Alex Prieto and Kevin Tapper finished fourth through sixth in the triple jump.
Guiding the Bison to their success was Donner, who earned his first honor as Coach of the Year on the men's side. Although he has seven such awards with the women's team, Donner become the first Bison coach to be honored since Art Gulden in 1993, the last time the Bucknell men won the team trophy.
"It was just an incredible weekend for the entire program," said Donner after the meet. "The student-athletes were so supportive of each other in every event area, and they responded great to the alumni, parents, spectators, support staff and coaching staff. It was a great weekend to be a Bison."
Despite the success of the weekend, Bucknell still has one more meet on its schedule. A select group of Bison will travel to Boston, Mass., for the IC4A Championships March 3-4.
Final Team Standings: