Bendzinski breaks mile record at Penn State National Open

Erica Chen, Contributing Writer

At the Penn State National Open on Jan. 27–28, Christine Bendzinski ’18 set a new Bison women’s record for the mile. Finishing fourth in her race, Bendzinski landed a time of 4:45.36, shattering the previous program record by over four seconds.

Both the men’s and women’s teams performed well among the nation’s top track and field schools at Penn State. For the Bison, Kaitlin Salisbury ’20 placed in the top 10 in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.34. In the 500-meter dash, Allison Sharkey ’17 finished eighth with a time of 1:16.67. Corinne Birchard ’17 placed seventh in the 800-meter run with a final time of 2:14.89.

In distance races, Grace Loh ’17 finished in fifth place in the 3000-meter run with a time of 10:01.73. Colleen Buckley ’19 placed second in the 5000-meter run with a time of 17:15.47.

The team rounded off its successful weekend by placing ninth in the 4×400-meter relay with Sharkey, Kim Lapszynski ’17, Elyse Pettaway ’17, and Carli Lucke ’18 with a combined time of 3:57.30.

The men also showcased their top-tier talent this weekend. Will Carter ’17 placed ninth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.12. For the 400-meter dash, Billy Melchionni ’19 placed seventh with a time of 49.78. Kyle Adams ’18 placed 15th in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.30.

The men’s team also fared well in the distance category. In the one mile run, Drew Dorflinger ’20 finished fourth with a time of 4:15.32. Luke Giugliano ’17 placed second in the 3000-meter run, clocking in at 8:26.17.

Head coach Kevin Donner was pleased with his team’s successes at the meet, reflecting on how the athletes can build on these performances for the rest of the season.

“The Penn State National was a high level meet that we took about 30 athletes to. We had a good majority of our athletes compete great and really showed they belong with the elite. This type of meet really prepares them for the post-season championships and gets them used to higher pressure situations,” Donner said.

Bison track and field will be traveling to Youngstown, Ohio for the Youngstown State Invitational from Feb. 3–4. Additionally, some members of the team will be competing in the Meyo Invitational held at Notre Dame from Feb. 3–4. Both meets will prepare the teams for the upcoming Patriot League Championship.

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