LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell track and field will host its first of three meets over a four-week span, bringing more than 50 schools to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium for the Bison Outdoor Classic April 9-10. Friday's action gets underway at 3 p.m., while Saturday is set for a 9:30 a.m. start.
Included on the list of those coming to Lewisburg are Patriot League foes Lehigh and Colgate, in-state opponents Duquesne and Pittsburgh, as well as Cornell, Binghamton and Buffalo, among others. The Bison will also see some familiar faces in Susquehanna, Shippensburg, Kutztown and Lock Haven at the meet.
Also on the home schedule for the Bison during the 2010 season are the Bucknell Team Challenge on April 17 and the Patriot League Championships April 30-May 1.
The Bucknell men's team took ninth in a field of 30 squads at the William & Mary Colonial Relays last week. The Bison finished with 42.5 points for their second consecutive top-10 finish at the meet.
Bucknell had several strong individual performances. Ted Heitzman (Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia) and Steven Pierce (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) both scored in the javelin. Heitzman's throw of 281 feet, 5 inches ranks third all-time at Bucknell. The Bison also had two scorers in the high jump in Drew Fitzgerald (Ballston Spa, N.Y./Ballston Spa) and Andrew Powell (Charlton, Mass./St. John's). Fitzgerald was third, while Powell finished eighth.
Bucknell also had a number of high-quality finishes in the hurdle races. Robert Arent (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) was fifth in the 400 meter hurdles, Andrew Yehl (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown) was sixth in the 110 meter hurdles, and the shuttle hurdle relay finished fourth.
Arent's time of 53.07 seconds in the 400 hurdles was a personal best. The sophomore has run a career time in each of his two meets this spring, maintaining his hold on the event's fourth-fastest time in program history.
As of April 6, Bucknell ranked 10th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Region poll. The Bison have 16 individuals and one relay that rank in the top 20 in the region to bring them to their team score of 256.91 points. Heitzman is the highest placed Bucknellian at No. 1 in the javelin.
Heitzman and Fitzgerald can both be found in the top 50 in the nation in the javelin and high jump, respectively. Heitzman's personal-best 218-5 is 48th in the country, while Fitzgerald's 6-8 ¼ is 49th. Changes in NCAA qualifying procedures mean there is no longer a single standard that earns athletes an automatic trip to the championship meet. Instead, the Bison will have to hold a position in the top 48 in the east region to qualify for the preliminary rounds in Greensboro, N.C.
Although NCAA qualifying marks are uncertain at this point, seven Bison have already punched their ticket for the IC4A Championships in Princeton, N.J., in May. Among them are Arent (400H), Isaih Bell (Stone Mountain, Ga./Clarkston) (100m), Fitzgerald (high jump), Heitzman (javelin), Jonathan Lockhart (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) (shot put), Pierce (javelin) and Yehl (110HH).
Although not a scored meet, 13 Bison earned top-five finishes on their home turf with three of them claiming gold medals. Yehl (110HH), Nicholas Hruch (Sykesville, Md./Liberty) (high jump) and Arent (400H) all earned individual victories.
Like the men's squad, the Bucknell women's team also placed ninth in a field of 30 teams at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va., with 42 points.
The Bison set five program top-10 marks at the relay meet last weekend. Included in that list are Stephanie Fulmer (Pottstown, Pa./St. Pius X) and Sarah Moniz (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional), who are now sixth and seventh, respectively, all-time in the 1500 meters. The distance medley and 4x200 relays also broke onto the list, while Casey Krause (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) made her mark in the triple jump.
For the second consecutive week, multiple Bison earned points in the javelin. This time it was Rycek in second, Kat Folger (Groton, Mass./Bishop Guertin) in sixth and Tayler Siegrist (Madison, N.J./Madison) in seventh. It was Rycek's second runner-up finish in as many weeks as she also claimed silver at the Maryland Invitational on March 27.
Bucknell is making a habit of winning Patriot League awards this season. A week after sweeping the women's ballot, Krause and Sasha Hornock (Dover, Pa./Dover) added two more to the team's resume. Krause was named the league's Field Athlete of the Week with her third-place finish in the triple jump. Hornock was voted Rookie of the Week after placing 12th in the long jump (17-8) and running a personal-best 12.77 seconds in the 100 meters.
The women's squad has moved into 10th place on the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Region weekly poll. The Bison have 18 marks that rank in the top 20 in the region, bringing their team point total to 246.10 points.
Rycek has the highest individual ranking at fifth in the javelin, while Chelsey Musante (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) and Sarah Bella (Mendham, N.J./ West Morris Mendham) both made the list multiple times. Musante is among the region's best in the shot put (ninth), discus (ninth) and hammer throw (11th). Bella is eighth in the shot put and 13th in the discus as of April 6.
Bucknell is off to a bit of a slow start in terms of qualifying for the ECAC Championships in May. After two meets, three Bison have met the required standards to compete in Princeton, N.J., including Rycek and Siegrist in the javelin and Musante in the shot put.
Eleven Bison earned top-five finishes at the 2009 Bison Outdoor Classic. At the top of that list was the 4x100 relay, which placed second, Rycek (javelin), Jamie Leacock (Howell, N.J./Howell) (400H) and Megan Hathaway (800m) all finished third in their respective events.
LOOKING AHEAD The Bison will host the Bucknell Team Challenge on Saturday, April 17 at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The meet will include Senior Day recognition for 29 Bison student-athletes.