Bison Cross Country Makes Final League Preparations at Pre-Nationals, Gettysburg
Oct. 12, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. - With just one week of competition left before the Patriot League Championships, Bucknell cross country will split squads for Pre-Nationals and the Gettysburg Invitational on Saturday. The Bison's lead runners will head south to Louisville, Ky., for Pre-Nationals where races will begin at 9:30 a.m. The remainder of Bucknell's roster will make the short trip to Gettysburg for an 11 a.m. start.
Bucknell will have some tough competition at Pre-Nationals. Eight men's and eight women's teams who were ranked among the top 25 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll will make their way to the starting line. Among them is Florida State, who was ranked first on the women's side, and BYU, which is third in the men's.
"This is our first major meet of the year and our first time at the 6K and 8K distance for women and men, respectively," said head coach Kevin Donner. "It's on a flatter and faster course than we have seen all year and obviously the competition will be fierce. We are excited to see our athletes step it up a notch mentally and physically in a much faster and larger race than we have seen all year."
The last time Bucknell competed at Pre-Nationals was in 2010 when it hosted by Indiana State at Terre Haute, Ind. Robert Yamnicky (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) was 46th in the open race, while D.J. Krystek (Pitcairn, Pa./Gateway Senior) was 66th. Caroline Tolli (Lockport, N.Y./Lockport) was 210th in the white race for the women.
Each of those Bison will have another shot in Louisville on Saturday. Krystek, who won the Saint Francis (Pa.) Father Bede Invitational the last time Bucknell competed, will compete in the seeded race at 9:30 a.m. The senior makes up a trio of Bison who have consistently been among the team's top five this season. Krystek, John Dugan (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey) and Andrew Garcia-Garrison (Detroit, Mich./Catholic Central) are the only Bison to place among the leading five in each of their three races this fall. Dugan and Garcia-Garrison will join Krystek in Saturday's seeded race.
Like the male trio, Tolli and Katie Jessee (Concord, Mass./Concord Carlisle) have solidified their places among the women's team's top five. In both of their first two meets this season, Tolli and Jessee finished 1-2 on the team. That changed slightly at the Father Bede Invite when Deanna Godby (Cleveland, Ohio/Mayfield) jumped to the front of the pack and won the individual title at the meet in Loretto, Pa. It was the freshman's first time being among Bucknell's top five since the Harry Lang Invitational on Sept. 1.
Godby, Tolli and Jessee will each compete in the unseeded race on Saturday, set for an 11:30 a.m. start.
With just 20 Bison making the trip to Louisville, the rest of the squad will compete at Gettysburg, a meet at which the women made a strong showing last year. Jessee was sixth overall to lead Bucknell in another split-squad situation. The Bison were also competing at Penn State the same weekend a year ago.
"This will be a very large meet with a lot of Division II and III schools. Since we are taking 10 men and 10 women to Pre-Nationals, this will be an opportunity for some runners to score for the team and be a factor in the team scoring," said Donner. "Since we are allowed to take 12 for the Patriot League Championships, obviously there will be people in this meet who will also compete at the league meet in two weeks. This is the last cross country meet for many of our athletes, so a lot is at stake."
After the weekend, Bucknell will make its final preparations for the Patriot League Championships on Oct. 27. The league meet will be hosted by Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y.