Feb. 14, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. – It’s the weekend everyone has been waiting for as Bucknell track & field heads to West Point, N.Y., for the Patriot League Championship Feb. 15-17. Both Bison squads are defending their titles from a year ago. The men’s title was their fourth overall and they will be looking for back-to-back team trophies for the first time since winning three consecutively from 1991-93. The women will be looking to start another streak of their own, having won 15 league titles in program history. They have also won 10 of their last 11 with the only interruption coming from Navy in 2011. The title defense begins on Friday with the multi events getting underway at noon. The meet will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Result updates will be available at goARMYsports.com.
"It looks like it will be another very close meet between Army, Navy and ourselves,” said head coach Kevin Donner of the men’s field. “The last three indoor championships have all gone to the home team with single digit wins. Our men have had a very nice indoor season. The league championships are a war of attrition and if we can get through the three days healthy and with no mental errors, we will be in contention for a title."
Bucknell topped Navy at last year’s championship meet at Gerhard Fieldhouse, but the split was just 8.75 points. The two squads tied for first in the Patriot League Preseason Poll earlier this winter.
"Our women have really come a long way both mentally and physically since November and now we are in a nice position to contend for a title,” said Donner. “This is one of the most balanced Patriot League meets in recent history with four or five schools capable of scoring over 100 points. I project the winning team to come out with 130-140 points, which is lower than most other years. We have that capability, but so do a few others. It will be a very exciting meet."
The Bucknell women beat out Navy for the title last season as well, 164-124. Lehigh was the only other squad to reach the 100-point mark, finishing third with 108. Despite that order of finish, the Mids took the top spot in the Patriot League Preseason Poll, dropping the Bison to second.
- Some of the men’s team’s lesser-known sprinters came to the forefront at last week’s Bucknell Winter Classic. Patryk Najbar and Jacob Eaton Hall went 1-2 in the 60 meters, both running two of the fastest times in program history. The Bison duo then tied for third in the 200 meters, again running the ninth-fastest time ever at Bucknell.
- Eaton Hall’s 7.02 in the 60-meter final ranks him ninth in program annals. It was the first time this season the junior had competed at that distance.
- Justin Hicks had last weekend off in preparation for defending his success at the 2012 Patriot League Championships. Then a junior, Hicks won the 60 and the 200 and anchored the fourth-place 4x400 relay. He tied the league record in the 200 (21.88) and set a school record in the 60-meter prelims (6.84). Hicks was ultimately named the Patriot League Track Athlete of the Meet, becoming the first in league history to earn that honor as well as the title of Patriot League Rookie of the Meet, an award he claimed in 2010.
- Hicks does not have any event wins this winter, but the senior has also never placed worse than fifth in any race. Most recently, he finished second in the 200 meters with a career-best 21.83 and took third in the 60 meters (6.92) at the Youngstown State Invitational.
- Christian Lupica also had last weekend off, but the sophomore has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons among Bison. A two-time Patriot League Track Athlete of the Week this year, Lupica has set school records in the 60m hurdles (8.04) and 300 meters (34.77) and has won six of his nine races this winter.
- Lupica was second in the 200 meters, trailing only Hicks, at the 2012 Patriot League Championships. As a rookie, he was also third in the 60 with a season-best time of 6.97 and in the 60 hurdles.
- Recent graduate Robert Arent won the 400 meters a year ago for the third consecutive time. The Bison have taken gold in that event in five of the last six championship meets after Kerry Boyle was the champion in 2007 and 2008 as well.
- Bucknell’s last sprints gold medal came from Sasha Hornock in the 60 meters at the 2011 championships. Hornock, who took sole possession of the school record in the event earlier this winter, was second by one-tenth of a second at last year’s meet. Hornock was just the second Bison in program history to win a Patriot League gold medal in the 60. Bucknell has eight wins each in the 200 and 400 meters and four in the 500.
- The last time Hornock was on the track, she set the school record at 7.74 with her third-place finish at the Youngstown State meet. The senior also set a season best in the 200, running 25.57, 0.31 seconds better than her previous top 2013 time and 0.56 seconds better than her finish at Youngstown State in 2012.
- Kim Nagotko gets better and better with each passing meet. The sophomore has run a career best in the 60 meters in each meet this winter as well as in each of her last three 200s. Nagotko kicked things off with a time of 8.00 in the 60-meter prelims of the Bison Opener, ranking seventh in program history. Four meets later, she is third in program annals with a personal record of 7.80.
- Nagotko is also third all-time at Bucknell in the 200, having posted a career best 25.13 at the Youngstown State National Invite. That time goes down as the fastest by a Bison this year and is .76 seconds faster than her time less than two weeks earlier at the Gulden Invitational.
- Top 2013 Times:
o 60m: Sasha Hornock (7.74), Justin Hicks (6.90)
o 200m: Kim Nagotko (25.13), Christian Lupica (21.78)
o 400m: Jennifer Zymet (57.35), Kevin Tapper (49.31)
o 500m: Jennifer Zymet (1:16.06), Kevin Tapper (1:04.28)
o 60m Hurdles: Jenn Silvestri (9.38), Christian Lupica (8.04)
o 4x400: Women (3:52.45), Men (3:18.75)
- The 1,000 meters might be the women’s squad’s most successful distance this winter. The Bison have won the event at five of seven meets. Caroline Tolli has two 1,000-meter victories during this indoor season, extending her winning streak in the event to four. Now a senior, Tolli’s last 1,000-meter race that she did not win came at the end of her sophomore campaign.
- Tolli’s winning streak in the 1,000 includes last year’s Patriot League Championships title. The Bison have won the 1,000 at the league meet five times in history. That is the second-most individual titles in a middle-distance/distance race, ranking only behind the 800. Bucknell has 10 PL league gold medals in the 800 with all of them coming successively from 1998-2007.
- Tolli’s resume includes more than just success in the 1,000. She has competed in five individual races across three meets. In those races, ranging from 800 to 3,000 meters, she has three program top-10 times, four wins and five ECAC-qualifying marks.
- Katie Jessee has improved her numbers to make her more of a force in the longer distances this year. The sophomore posted the 10th-fastest time in program history (9:59.67) in the 3,000 at the Penn State National Invitational in late January. Her very next meet saw her earn the win in the 5,000 at Youngstown State. Her time of 17:42.36 in that race is the fastest by a Bison this winter.
- The men’s squad has seen its own 1,000-meter success, particularly at last weekend’s Bucknell Winter Classic. The Bison finished second through fifth thanks to performances from Tyler Erhard, Dustin Horning, Brian Charland and Chris Oesterlin. All four posted IC4A-qualifying times. Erhard led the Bison pack with a time of 2:29.84, which ranks second this season on the team only to John Westwood.
- Westwood has Bucknell’s top times in both the 800 and 1,000 meters this winter. The freshman has also competed in five individual races and won four of them. The only non-victory came in the invitational heat of the 1,000 at the Penn State National Invite, but he finished fourth with the team’s season best of 2:29.24.
- Robert Yamnicky has won each of his last two races for the Bison. His first gold medal came in the mile at the Bison Open & Multi. Then just last weekend, the senior stood atop the podium in the 3,000 after running a time of 8:28.46.
- Two of Bucknell’s Patriot League Men’s Track Athlete of the Meet honors have gone to distance runners. Matthew Forys won the award in 2007, while Ron Hess was a winner in 1999. Julie Sweitzer (1998), Stephanie Bango (2001) and Christa Sawko (2006) were recognized on the women’s side.
- Top 2013 Times
o 800m: Caroline Tolli (2:13.17), John Westwood (1:53.80)
o 1,000m: Caroline Tolli (2:59.88), John Westwood (2:29.24)
o Mile: Hana Casalnova (4:59.53, Andrew Garcia-Garrison (4:14.77)
o 3,000m: Caroline Tolli (9:56.58), Robert Yamnicky (8:28.46)
o 5,000m: Katie Jessee (17:42.36), John Dugan (14:48.07)
o 4x800: Women (9:35.90), Men (7:56.36)
o DMR: Women (11:50.29), Men (10:22.13)
- Ray Holmes has consistently been Bucknell’s top triple jumper. The junior has two wins and three program top-10 marks this winter. Holmes’ worst placing was eighth at the Penn State National Invitational, but he posted a then-career-best 48-4 ½ at that meet. He has since improved that mark to 48-10, ranking third in program annals.
- Holmes placed fourth in the triple jump at last year’s Patriot League Championships.
- Alex Prieto has been on Holmes’ heels in the triple jump for much of the season. Also a junior, he has been steadily improving his marks, most recently coming up with the win at the Bucknell Winter Classic, jumping a career-best 47-5 ¼.
- Kevin Keller was a bit of a surprise finish in the long jump last weekend. The sophomore won the event for the first time in his career and did so with the best mark of his career. At 23-3 ¼, Keller had his first-ever mark at better than 23 feet and the eighth-best distance in program history. He is the first Bison to crack the top-10 since Isaih Bell in 2011 (23-5 ½) and the second since Kyle Anthony in 2006 (23-11 ¼).
- Bucknell’s men’s pole vaulters often get overlooked in the jumps arena, but that is the field event that has the most Patriot League Championship titles. The Bison have eight gold medals in the pole vault with the most recent being David Mante who won three straight from 2007-09. Bucknell also has six men’s long jump, five triple jump and four high jump titles in program history.
- The triple jump has been the gold medal hot bed for the women. The Bison have nine Patriot League titles in that event with Casey Krause being the most recent winner in 2010. Alexandra Romanelli has the top triple jump mark this winter, clearing 37-10 at the Gulden Invitational. The senior’s best long jump mark of the season also game at the Gulden Invite, 17-8 ¾.
- Romanelli was runner-up in both horizontal jumps at the 2012 Patriot League Championships. Both came with career best marks as well.
- Olivia Massey owns Bucknell’s best long jump mark of the 2013 campaign. The senior cleared 18-6 ½ at the Gulden Invitational, catapulting her to sixth all-time at Bucknell. Massey has been able to recapture that groove since then, however. Her next best mark on the year is 17-8 ¾.
- Emily Ando will be defending her Patriot League pole vault title. As a sophomore, Ando stood atop the podium with a career-best clearance of 11-9 ¾. She has matched that height twice this season. Ando also placed fourth in the high jump at last year’s championships, clearing 5-5. No Bison this winter has gone higher than 5-3.
- Top 2013 Marks
o Long Jump: Olivia Massey (18-6 ½), Kevin Keller (23-3 ¼)
o Triple Jump: Alexandra Romanelli (37-10), Ray Holmes (48-10)
o High Jump: Megan Kirk, Devon McDonald, Laura Lutzker (5-3), Jason Brown (6-7)
o Pole Vault: Emily Ando (11-9 ¾), Nathaniel Witter (15-9)
- Two Bison men will be looking to defend their 2012 Patriot League titles and one of them is Leonard Joseph. Joseph has set himself up nicely to win his second consecutive gold in the weight throw this year. The senior has won the event in five of his seven meets, including each of the last two. He also has a career-best mark of 65-0 ¾ from the Bison Open & Multi, putting him less than 10 inches off the school record.
- Joseph has been named the Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week three times this winter, bringing his career total to eight. That is the most field honors in league history.
- The Bucknell men have won the Patriot League title in the weight throw six times in program history. The last individual to win the title in back-to-back seasons was Navy’s Mark Van Orden in 2009-10. Bucknell or Navy has won the weight throw in each of the last eight championships.
- With his career-best throw of 53-11 in the weight throw last weekend at the Bucknell Winter Classic, Jack Fellows moved himself into the No. 2 spot behind Joseph this winter. Fellows also posted a personal record in the shot put, finishing sixth in 50-4 ¾. It was the sophomore’s first career meet at better than 50 feet.
- Fellows’ sixth-place shot put finish at the last home meet added to an already impressive run in the event for the Bison this winter. In seven meets, Bucknell has earned top-10 finishes 30 times. Only one of those was a win, however. Luke Webster was the victor at the Gulden Invitational, throwing 53-4 ¼ to move into third all-time in program annals and to claim the team’s best mark of the season.
- Stephen Koullias and Quinten Marcott have both placed among the top 10 in the shot at seven meets, Fellows and Webster at six meets and Brian Monahan at four.
- Bucknell has won three of the last four, and five overall, men’s shot put titles at the Patriot League Championships. Recent Bucknell grad Tom Barr took gold at each of the last two league meets.
- Bucknell’s women’s throws squad has seniors and freshmen. The seniors have anchored the weight throw with Abby Monaghan finishing among the top four in five of her six meets this winter. Her top mark of the season was 52-6 at the Gulden Invitational, while Kathryn Wahls broke the 50-foot barrier at Penn State (50-9 ¼).
- Sophia Nnadi and Abigail Brundage have established themselves as the squad’s top competitors in the shot put. Nnadi’s best day came just last weekend when she won the Bucknell Winter Classic with a career-best 43-10. The performance was her first over 40 feet and moved her into sixth in program history. It was also the best throw this winter for the Bison.
- Nnadi’s performance earned her Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors on Monday. It was the first league recognition of her career.
- Bucknell has a bit of a reputation to defend at the Patriot League Championships this weekend. The Bison have five weight throw titles and five more shot put titles in program history. Chelsey Musante was the last to win the weight throw, doing so in 2009 and 2010. She also started a run of three straight Bison at the top of the podium in the shot put, winning in 2010 and then being followed by Sarah Bella in 2011 and 2012.
- Top 2013 Marks
o Shot Put: Sophia Nnadi (43-10), Luke Webster (53-4 ¼)
o Weight Throw: Abby Monaghan (52-6), Leonard Joseph (65-0 ¾)
Bucknell’s final indoor meet of the season is set for March 1-3. The IC4A-ECAC Championships will play out in Boston.