Nov. 29, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - It has been a long offseason for much of Bucknell men's track and field and the Bison are chomping at the bit to defend their Patriot League indoor title from a year ago. That title defense begins on Saturday with the Bison Opener, set for 9:30 a.m. at Gerhard Fieldhouse. Live results will be available at BucknellBison.com.
Saturday's meet will be the first of five at Gerhard Fieldhouse. Bucknell's home schedule this winter also includes the Bucknell Mini Meet (Jan. 5, 2013), Gulden Invitational (Jan. 19), Bison Open & Multi (Jan. 25-26) and the Bucknell Winter Classic (Feb. 9).
Below is an in-depth look at the upcoming 2012-13 Bucknell men's track and field season.
Women's track and field has gotten much of the attention in Lewisburg in the last 15 years, but the Bucknell men are doing their best to change that. The three-time defending Patriot League Outdoor Track & Field Champions, the Bison captured their first indoor conference title since 1993 last winter. The secret to Bucknell's success in recent years has been equal contribution from both the track and field events, a trend that is expected to continue through 2012-13.
"Our men will have very good balance in all event areas, which should put us in position for another championship season," said 12th-year head coach Kevin Donner, who claimed his third consecutive Patriot League Coach of the Year honor on the men's side last spring. "We are now in a position where championships are attainable goals."
Of Bucknell's 10 individual conference titles last year, Justin Hicks
and Leonard Joseph
each earned two, and Joseph became the second Bison to qualify for the NCAA Championships in as many years. Both return to the squad for their senior campaign this year.
Hicks is coming off a strong year in which he was named Patriot League Indoor Track & Field Runner of the Meet thanks in part to double wins in the 60 and 200 meters. He also set a school record in the 60 and a Patriot League record in the 200 at the meet. Just below him on the podium in both events was Christian Lupica, who is also Bucknell's main force in the hurdles.
Kamal Riley, who posted some of the top times in program history last year and advanced to the IC4A Championships more than once, will add depth in the short sprints. An IC4A-qualifier in the 500, Jacob Eaton-Hall will help anchor the long sprints.
Notable Newcomer: Anthony Menza
Bucknell loses one of the most decorated athletes in program history in Rob Arent, but sophomore Lupica is poised to make up the difference. Lupica scored at the Patriot League Championships in all three hurdles races, taking third at 60 meters, second at 110 and sixth at 400. He is also ranked in the program top 10 in all three races, including the 60 hurdles where he is just .04 seconds off Arent's school record.
Five All-East performers from last year will anchor the middle-distance unit in 2013. Among them are senior Dustin Horning and juniors Dennis Logan, Chris Oesterlin and Tyler Erhard. The quartet made up the 4x800 at the outdoor IC4A Championships shortly after Horning, Logan and Oesterlin helped the relay to a school record weeks earlier at the league meet.
Alex Jagelsky made a splash with an All-East citation in the 1,000. Now a sophomore, he also owns the ninth-fastest outdoor 800 time in program history.
Notable Newcomer: John Westwood
Although Bucknell scored in just two races longer than one mile at a Patriot League Championship last year, the Bison have noticeable depth at the long distances. John Dugan took fifth in the 3,000 steeplechase and D.J. Krystek was sixth in the 10,000. Both are returning in 2012-13 along with standouts Michael McGowan and Andrew Garcia-Garrison from the sophomore class and senior Robert Yamnicky. Dugan (steeplechase), Krystek (10K) and McGowan (10K) were also IC4A qualifiers a year ago.
Notable Newcomers: Harrison Brakewood, Andrew Kuchta
Few event areas have enjoyed constant success like the throws. Joseph defended his PL title in the hammer and added a weight throw win to the mix as well. That brought Bucknell throwers' PL gold medal count to eight over the last three years. Also included in that group is Joseph's senior classmate Luke Webster, who has become more of a threat in the shot put and hammer since winning his discus title in 2011.
Stephen Koullias also broke onto the shot put scene last year, placing fourth indoors and second outdoors after having never competed at a league meet previously. He and Quinten Marcott, a Second Team All-League honoree last winter, should maintain the Bison's shot prowess despite the graduation of multi-year champion Tom Barr.
Ted Mottola became a first-time IC4A qualifier in the hammer and Laddie Trees crashed into the record books in javelin last spring, giving Bucknell even more depth.
Bucknell's jumpers often got overlooked at recent league meets, but that doesn't mean they weren't producing. Just over 10 percent of the Bison's points at the championships last year came from the high jump, long jump and triple jump alone.
Jason Brown anchored the high jumpers, taking third indoors and fourth outdoors a year ago. Depth was the name of the game in the horizontal jumps. At least two Bison scored in the triple and long jump at both the indoor and outdoor championships. Ray Holmes, Alex Prieto and Kevin Tapper went 4-5-6 in the indoor triple jump, making them the deepest contingent. Holmes was also third in the triple jump outdoors, while Kevin Keller was a key player in the long jump.
One of the most veteran groups on the squad, Bucknell will turn to seniors Daniel Markwalter and Ian Ferguson and juniors Nathaniel Witter and Scott Weismiller in the pole vault. Witter was last year's only two-time scorer at Patriot League Championships, tying with Markwalter for third indoors and placing fifth outdoors. Markwalter and Witter are neck-and-neck in the program record books as well. The two are tied for third (15-9) indoors and separated by six inches outdoors with Markwalter tied for fourth (15-9) and Witter sixth (15-3).
Bucknell has some big shoes to fill with the graduation of Andrew Powell, a two-time champion and school record-holder in both the decathlon and heptathlon. Ready to step up to the challenge, however, is Sam Brandstadt. The sophomore was sixth at the indoor and outdoor championships in his debut campaign and added IC4A qualifier to his resume in the spring.
Notable Newcomer: Grant Reynolds