Bison Cross Country Returns from Three-Week Hiatus for Father Bede Invite
Sept. 28, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - After a three-week hiatus Bucknell cross country will finally return to action when they take on Saint Francis (Pa.) in a rare dual at the Father Bede Invitational in Loretto, Pa., on Saturday. The men's 7-kilometer race is set for a 10:30 a.m. start with the women's 5K going off at 11:15 a.m. The meet will be the first dual for the Bison since 2009.
Despite a long history of success in dual meets, Bucknell has not gone head-to-head with any team in nearly three years. The Bison men lost to Duquesne 24-32 when they met in Pittsburgh in 2009 to bring their dual record since 1991 to 93-6, but before that Bucknell had an even more impressive streak. The Orange and Blue went undefeated in 167 duals from 1975-1990. Bucknell won 18 conference titles and competed in eight NCAA Championship meets during that stretch as well.
The women also fell to Duquesne in their last dual, 23-33. That 2009 matchup was Bucknell's first dual in eight years and the loss ended a 32-meet winning streak that dated back to 1997.
Bucknell may need to shake off the rust on Saturday if it wants to get back in the wins column. It has been three weeks since the team's last meet, the Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational. The Bison cruised through each of their races, winning both the men's and women's titles convincingly. Individually John Dugan (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey) and Caroline Tolli (Lockport, N.Y./Lockport) brought home gold as well. Both were later named the Runner of the Week by the Patriot League and the ECAC, and Alison Billas (Danville, Pa./Danville) received her first Patriot League Rookie of the Week citation for her fifth-place finish in Michigan.
Dugan and Tolli have been the models of consistency through the first couple of meets, but they have not been alone in their accomplishments. Dugan and D.J. Krystek (Pitcairn, Pa./Gateway Senior) have gone 1-2 for the Bison in each of their two meets, while Tolli and Katie Jessee (Concord, Mass./Concord Carlisle) have done the same for the women. Billas and Montana DiPietrantonio (Mount Laural, N.J./Bishop Eustace) helped keep the top four steady with their performances at Colgate's Harry Lang Invitational and the Detroit Titan Invite.
Many of Bucknell's top runners this season will have their first look at the Father Bede Invitational course on Saturday. They will have the opportunity to equal the successful efforts put forth by some of the team's reserves in past years. Robert Yamnicky (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) won the meet a year ago, finishing the 5K course in 16:09 and claiming his first Patriot League Runner of the Week citation in the process. Betsy Edinger (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich Central) won the women's 5K race in 19:42, earning her the first victory and the first conference Rookie of the Week honor of her career. Michael McGowan (Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion) was the Rookie of the Week on the men's side after placing eighth.
Bucknell will split its squads the next time it competes. The Bison will race at the Pre-National Invitational, hosted by Louisville, and the Gettysburg Invitational on Oct. 13. The two meets will be the last before the Patriot League Championship on Oct. 27 in Hamilton, N.Y.