Bison Athlete of the Week: Christine Bendzinski

Lauren Whelan, Assistant Sports Editor

“Once we started believing in ourselves, we did some pretty amazing things,” Christine Bendzinski ’18 said, reflecting on the women’s cross country season. The Orange and Blue truly did complete some amazing feats this fall, running to grab multiple impressive finishes throughout the season and displaying a team with deep talent. Bendzinski was a large contributor to this effort.

Bendzinski had a slower start to the season due to injury, which prevented her from running in the team’s first meet. Her ability to overcome the injury was clear as she made a statement in the Dickinson Long/Short Invitational, where she sped to an impressive second-place finish, helping the Bison to take first overall. After the race, Bendzinski’s talent was immediately recognized as she was awarded her first of two Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors.

“I started the season with an injury, and it set me back a couple of weeks. I didn’t get to run in the first meet, and not being able to run made the transition pretty tough for me. It was a rough first month, but my teammates and coaches got me through it. I owe them a lot,” Bendzinski said.

Possibly the greatest success for the Orange and Blue this season was their runner-up finish at the Patriot League Championships. The Bison tied with Boston University as each team earned 52 points, but after a tiebreaker, they fell just short of first place.

“We worked toward this goal of winning Leagues the entire season–since June, really. When the time came, we were aggressive and we put up a great fight. We tied Boston, the favorite to win, and although the tie-breaker did not work in our favor, we are still so incredibly proud of ourselves,” Bendzinski said.

The Patriot League Championships can be an overwhelming experience for any first-year, but under the pressure, Bendzinski shone bright. With three years left with the Bison, this experience will certainly be a major stepping stone. In the Championship race, she placed 15th.

“The best moment was definitely going to the League Championship at Lehigh and seeing about 250 spectators supporting Bucknell cross country. Running by the first mile mark in that race, I couldn’t even hear myself think because the Bucknell crowd was so loud. That’s the kind of thing that makes me proud to be a Bison,” Bendzinski said.

Most recently, Bendzinski led the squad at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. The Bison finished eighth as a squad, with Bendzinski being the top runner for the University in 27th place. Two spots shy of all-region honors, she was the third-fastest runner in the Patriot League in addition to being the seventh-fastest first-year.

“I’m looking forward to progress and many more great memories. We did very well at Leagues this fall, and I think definitely it’ll carry over into indoor and outdoor track this year. I think we all want to bring another trophy home. My teammates are some of my best friends. We’re truly like a family, and even though I haven’t been here for very long, I have a feeling I’m going to cherish the memories made with Bucknell Track and Field forever,” Bendzinski said.
Hometown: Hebron, Conn.
High School: RHAM

NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships Stats:
Time: 21:22
Place: 27/207
Third-fastest Patriot League runner
Seventh-fastest first-year

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