LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell track and field will host its second consecutive meet, welcoming Binghamton, Duquesne, Lock Haven and Penn State to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The five-team scored meet is set to begin with field events at 10 a.m. Senior Day ceremonies recognizing the Bison's 29 senior student-athletes at 11:30 a.m. will precede the day's running events.
Four facility records were broken at last weekend's Bison Outdoor Classic, including the men's 4x400 mark that was claimed by Binghamton. Bucknell will aim to make an impact of its own as it competes in its final regular-season home meet of the year, going up against Penn State, the defending Big Ten champions in women's indoor track and field, and Lock Haven, which won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference's indoor title on the men's side this winter. The Bison will return to their own track one more time after this weekend as they will also host the Patriot League Championships April 30-May1.
"We are very excited about hosting the Team Challenge on Saturday. The meet will be very competitive on each side with the addition of Penn State," said head coach Kevin Donner. "This type of meet exposes the strengths and weaknesses of teams. This is our last meet where the entire team will be competing. This is a huge meet for many of our athletes to prove themselves."
Five Bison recorded wins at the Bison Outdoor Classic last weekend. Andrew Yehl (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown) and Robert Arent (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) swept the hurdles with Yehl winning at 110 meters and Arent earning the victory at the 400 distance. Isaih Bell (Stone Mountain, Ga./Clarkston) continued his success at the sprints with a gold medal in the 100 meter dash. Andrew Huebner (Hampton Falls, N.H./Governor Dummer Academy) and Daniel Markwalter (Vienna, Va./Thomas Jefferson S&T) both claimed their first wins of the season in the 3000 meter steeplechase and pole vault, respectively.
Ted Heitzman (Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia) provided a nice introduction to Bucknell's new javelin runway. The sophomore finished second overall in the event but was first among collegiate competitors with a throw of 205 feet despite windy conditions.
The Bison used competing at home to their advantage last weekend. Over the course of the two-day meet, 27 student-athletes set 33 season-best marks. Appearing in that group twice are Arent (110HH, 400H), Jason Brown (Plainville, Mass./Bishop Feehan) (110HH, long jump), Leonard Joseph (Whitesboro, N.Y./Clinton) (discus, hammer), Jonathan Lockhart (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) (discus, hammer) and Ryan White (Elkins Park, Pa./Father Judge) (110HH, long jump).
Among those setting career marks were Arent, Bell, Joseph and Tom Barr (Ambler, Pa./La Salle College HS). Arent now ranks third at Bucknell in the 400 hurdles (52.28 seconds) and tied for fifth in the 110 hurdles (14.69). Bell jumped from ninth to second in the 100 meters (10.61), and Barr improved from sixth to fourth in the shot put with a throw of 52-2 ½. Making his first appearance on the program's top-10 list is Joseph with a throw of 156-11 in the discus, ranking him sixth all-time.
Bucknell improved one position on the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Region poll. The Bison are now ranked ninth regionally as a team. A total of 21 student-athletes have earned a spot among the Mid-Atlantic's top 20 individually. Six of those are in the top 10, led by Heitzman with the top mark in the javelin.
With three meets remaining this month, Bucknell is looking to add to its list of IC4A qualifiers. The Bison currently have 10 athletes on the qualifying list, including recent additions Barr (shot put), Huebner (3000m steeplechase) and Joseph (discus).
Bucknell defeated six other teams at last year's Team Challenge. The Bison totaled 205 points to win comfortably over second-place Saint Francis (Pa.) with 89 points. Kyle Anthony (Barryville, N.Y./Eldred Central) and Drew Fitzgerald (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) both recorded NCAA Regional qualifying marks. Anthony did so with his winning triple jump mark, while Fitzgerald met the standard in the high jump.
Laura Rycek (Northampton, Pa./Northampton Area) had the lone win for the women's squad at the Bison Outdoor Classic as the junior was the victor in the javelin. Bucknell was not without success in other areas, however. Four Bison recorded five top-10 marks at the meet, including Kelly Grosskurth (Huntington Station, N.Y./Half Hallow Hills East) in the 3000 meter steeplechase, Rebecca Misko (Morristown, N.J./Madison) in the discus, Sarah Moniz (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional) in the 5000 meters and Chelsey Musante (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) in the hammer and shot put.
Musante's success was recognized by the Patriot League on Tuesday as the senior was named the league's Field Athlete of the Week. Musante placed fourth in the hammer and shot put, and 10th in the discus. Her shot put performance of 45-11 ¼ ranks second all-time at Bucknell, less than five inches behind Sarah Bella's (Mendham, N.J./West Morris Mendham) school record, while her hammer throw of 173-5 is third all-time. It was Musante's fourth Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week award this year.
Like the men's team, the Bison women enjoyed being on their home turf last weekend. Twenty-one student-athletes set 26 season-best marks at the most recent meet, including Misko (discus, shot put), Christina Muccio (Andover, Mass./Andover), Musante (hammer, shot), Alexandra Romanelli (Galloway, N.J./Absegami) (long jump, triple jump) and Rycek (javelin, shot put).
As of April 13, Bucknell found itself ranked 12th in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region poll. Rebecca Frey (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty), Musante, Misko, Ryck and Tayler Siegrist (Madison, N.J./Madison) each have claimed individual spots in the region's top-10 in their respective events.
With her 5000 meter time of 17:16.54 last weekend, Moniz has added her name to the list of Bison who have meet the ECAC Championship standard. Moniz joins the qualifying group of throwers in Misko, Musante, Rycek and Siegrist.
Bucknell won the 2009 edition of the Team Challenge, defeating second-place Saint Francis (Pa.) by 116 points. The Bison claimed 10 individual victories. Only former champions and recent graduates Megan Hathaway and Gillian Nordquist will not return from that group.
LOOKING AHEAD Bucknell has one more weekend in its regular season. The Bison will compete at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., April 22-24 in addition to the Bloomsburg Invitational, also on April 24.