Bucknell Men's Track & Field Wins Second Consecutive Patriot League Championship
May 7, 2011
EASTON, Pa. - Bucknell men's track and field earned six more individual gold medals and three school records fell as the Bison won back-to-back Patriot League Championships for the first time in program history on Saturday at Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex. Robert Arent (New Providence, N.J./New Providence), who won the 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles in addition to running the fastest 110-meter hurdle race in Bucknell history, was named the Track Athlete of the Meet for the second straight year. Kevin Donner also claimed his second consecutive Coach of the Year honor.
While last year's championship came by a slim three points, Bucknell left little doubt that it was again the best team in the Patriot League. After sitting in second place in the team standings on day one, the Bison finished with 186 points and bested second-place Army, which had 157 points. Navy was third with 132.5 points and Lehigh was fourth with 91. Rounding out the standings was Lafayette (49), American (36.5), Colgate (16) and Holy Cross (14).
"I saw a very hungry team out there today," said Donner, who was also named the Coach of the Year on the women's side for a second straight year after the Bison defended that title as well. "I am very proud of how our men bounced back after not winning the indoor (Patriot League) championship. They really kept their composure and competed with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm."
One of those Bison brimming with confidence is Arent, who successfully defended his titles in both the 400 meters and 400-meter hurdles. In the open 400, the junior finished in 48.50 seconds to give Bucknell its third gold medal in the event in the last four years. The Bison also have quite the streak going in the 400 hurdles as Arent's win is the fourth in five seasons for the Orange and Blue. Arent's latest victory came in 53.39 seconds.
Arent is the only Patriot League runner to win both the 400 and the 400 hurdles in the same championship meet. He has now achieved the feat in each of the last two years.
Although he did not come away with the win, Arent ran a career-best in 110-meter hurdles, resetting the school record at 14.32 seconds. The finish pushed him past former record-holder and teammate Andrew Yehl by just one-hundredth of a second. Arent now holds the school records in both hurdle events having gone 51.59 seconds in the 400 hurdles last season. He finished second in the 110 hurdles on Saturday, trailing only Army's Dominick Sylve who is a four-time champion in the event.
Andrew Powell (Charlton, Mass./St. John's) and the 4x100 relay joined Arent in setting new school records on Saturday. Powell's came in the decathlon with 6,552 points, topping Ryan White's mark by more than 100 points. The current junior, who was leading in the event after the first five events, ultimately placed third.
The 4x100 has been on a roll in recent meets and Saturday was no exception. Marlon Woods (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods), Justin Hicks (Wilmington, Del./Tower Hill School), Kamal Riley (Hyde Park, Mass./Charlestown) and Isaih Bell (Stone Mountain, Ga./Clarkston) moved into the program's top-10 at last week's Penn Relays, then broke the Bucknell record with a second-place finish in 40.95 seconds at the Patriot League Championships today.
Hicks did not go home without a gold medal. The sophomore won the 100 meters in 10.69 seconds. He becomes the first Bison to win the event since Noel Powell took back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003. Hicks was also third in the 200 meters (21.59), just behind Bell who took second (21.43). Both Bison's times are among the best in program history.
Bucknell earned two more titles on the track with Jordan Donaldson (Saxton, Pa./Tussey Mountain) in the 800 meters and the 4x400 relay, which also included Donaldson and Hicks. Donaldson won the 800 with a time of 1:51.01. The mark was the best of the junior's career and moves him up the list to fourth in the program record book. The last Bucknellian to earn gold in the 800 meters was Ron Hess who won in both 1999 and 2000.
Donaldson capped off the day by anchoring the winning 4x400. Whereas the relay had been crucial to Bucknell's 2010 championship, the 2011 title had already been decided by the final event. Along with John Picardo (Rochester, N.Y./Hilton Central), Dan Mularz (Englishtown, N.J./Freehold Township) and Hicks, Donaldson helped the squad to a time of 3:16.64.
Not to be overlooked was Bucknell's final win in the field events that came courtesy of Luke Webster (Pataskala, Ohio/Newark Catholic) in the discus. The first Bison to win the event since Jim Heizman in 1996, Webster finished with a throw of 160 feet, 4 inches.
Over the course of the two-day meet, the Bison broke three school records and a Patriot League Championship record (Ted Heitzman, javelin) and rewrote the program top-10 in seven events. In addition to setting the new decathlon record, Powell also moved into a tie for fourth at Bucknell in the high jump. Powell tied for fifth in the open high jump, clearing 6-8 ¼ on Saturday. Drew Fitzgerald (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) was second overall in the event with a mark of 6-10 ¼. The Bison senior totaled 20 points in his final championship meet after also earning a second-place finish in the pole vault and a fourth-place finish in the long jump yesterday.
Mularz, who was third in the 400-meter hurdles and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles, set the eighth-fastest time in program history at the shorter distance. Previously unranked in the 110 hurdles, he broke into the top 10 with a time of 14.86, his first career sub-15 second mark.
After going without a team title for 18 years, Bucknell has now won each of the last two. The Bison are the first back-to-back winners since Army took first place every year from 1992 to 2007.
Bucknell will be back in action May 13-15 for the IC4A Championships in Princeton, N.J.
Final Team Standings