Bucknell Cross Country to Go Against Midwest Foes at Detroit Titan Invite
Sept. 7, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell cross country will hit the course for the third time in two weeks, competing at the 26th Annual Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational in Northville, Mich., on Saturday. It is the first time since 2008 that the Bison, which are coming off a performance at the Harry Lang Invite a week ago that saw them place in the top half of the standings, have gone toe-to-toe with its Midwest foes at Cass-Benton Park. Intercollegiate races begin with the women at 11:15 a.m., followed by the men one-half hour later.
"The team is excited about our first true road trip, and it's fun going to a different region and racing teams that we normally do not see," said head coach Kevin Donner. "We have a few alums in the Detroit area who are excited to see Bucknell, and our Midwest athletes' families are excited to see their sons and daughters race.
"I started this meet back in 1986 when I coached at the University of Detroit and am excited to be going back home as a coach and showing off the Bison."
Now in his 12th season as Bucknell's head coach, Donner began his career with the Titans in 1984. In his nine years at Detroit, he coached 20 All-Midwestern Collegiate Conference student-athletes and led the women's cross country squad to back-to-back MCC titles in 1986 and 1987.
The last time Donner's current program competed at the Detroit Titan Invite, the men claimed the 2008 team title, topping second-place Eastern Michigan by 10 points, while the women were second to Michigan by 20 points. With that meet coming about in 2008, no current Bison was a part of that squad. Individual leaders for Bucknell four years ago were then-freshman Caitlin Cavanaugh in sixth place and then-junior Andrew Huebner in fifth.
Bucknell will face some seldom-seen opponents this weekend. Scheduled to compete at the Detroit Titan Invitational are Cleary, Cleveland State, Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State, among others.
The Bison's latest races featured some more familiar faces, however. At Colgate's Harry Lang Invitational last Saturday, Bucknell saw four of their seven Patriot League foes. The Bison women came out on top, finishing second overall in the team standings behind only Syracuse and seven points ahead of defending conference champion Navy. On the men's side, Navy and American were second and third, respectively, behind the Orange, and Bucknell was fifth. Colgate and Holy Cross were also in the field.
Bucknell's success on the individual front came differently on the men's and women's fronts. The women were anchored by a largely young squad. After senior Caroline Tolli (Lockport, N.Y./Lockport) led the Bison with an eighth-place finish were four underclassmen, including sophomores Katie Jessee (Concord, Mass./Concord Carlisle) and Montana DiPietrantonio (Mount Laural, N.J./Bishop Eustace) and freshmen Alison Billas (Danville, Pa./Danville Area) and Deanna Godby (Cleveland, Ohio/Mayfield). All of Bucknell's top five finishers at the Bison Open the previous day were freshmen or sophomores as well.
While the women's lineup was characterized by youth, the men's squad showed more experience. Sophomore John Dugan (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey) was Bucknell's top finisher at the Harry Lang Invitational in 15th overall, and freshman Andrew Kuchta (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) was third on the team and 32nd overall, but juniors Tyler Erhard (Millerstown, Pa./East Juniata), Eric Balaban (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) and David Strauss (Orefield, Pa./Parkland) and seniors D.J. Krystek (Pitcairn, Pa./Gateway Senior) and Charles Seigneur (Allison Park, Pa./Allison Park) made up the rest of the top seven.
Bucknell had more than one notable performance in its first weekend of races. Glen Williams (Landenberg, Pa./Kennett) won the Bison Open, finishing the three-mile course in 15:09. It was the sophomore's first career victory. His best finish previously had been at the 2011 Bucknell Open in which he placed 13th overall in 15:27.
Dugan has now placed among Bucknell's scoring five in all of his career meets, but last Saturday at the Harry Lang Invitational marked the first time in which he was the top Bison finisher. Also at the Harry Lang Invite, Jessee earned one of her best career finishes in terms of placement as well by placing ninth overall. The sophomore's other top-10 races came at last year's Saint Francis (Pa.) Father Bede Invitational and the Gettysburg Invitational where she was fourth and sixth, respectively.
Following its trip to Detroit, Bucknell will have a short break before its next meet. The Bison will next compete at the Saint Francis (Pa.) Invitational on Sept. 29 in Loretto, Pa.