Athlete of the Week: Christine Bendzinski

Lauren Whelan, Sports Co-Editor

As the women’s cross country team rolled to a three-peat win at the Patriot League Championship, Christine Bendzinski ’18 took the individual title for the second straight year.

“It felt great to have the performance I did. It was kind of gutsy from the beginning, and it’s not typically our style to lead from the beginning. The race went out easy, and I was grateful to have my teammate Colleen right next to me stride-for-stride for the majority of the race. It makes everything so much easier.”

Bendzinski has been a major player for the Bison throughout her career, having earned a spot on the First Team All-Patriot League Team three times. With her repeated individual victories at the championship meet, Bendzinski became the third runner in program history for the Orange and Blue to finish with multiple individual titles. This success is not without excitement along the way.

“I think finally finding out that we won Patriot Leagues was my favorite. Unlike the last two years, where the result was an obvious win right upon crossing the finish line, we were not sure because of the spread and the competitiveness of Army and Navy,” Bendzinski said.

“It was an amazing feeling going from the stress of not knowing, to the relief that we did it again. And having a huge fan base there made it that much sweeter to bring it home to them,” she continued.

Bendzinski’s favorite aspect of her experience with the Orange and the Blue has simply been being a member of the team.

“I think at some point, all of the league meets that I have competed in will blend together because of the indomitable spirit Bucknell brings to each and every one of them,” Bendzinski said. “I think that is going to stay with me forever, because I’ll never get a chance like this to be supported by such a large group of people ever again in my life.”

While the challenge of balancing athletics with academics can be difficult, especially at an academically rigorous school, Bendzinski expressed how the support she finds within the Bison community helps to ease the burden.

“I definitely feel supported, and have tried to make that more accessible for others through my leadership on the team. Realizing that as athletes, we are different, we have different standards and goals, and that we have to treat ourselves is not an easy thing.”

As her final cross country season comes to an end, Bendzinski still looks forward to what is ahead.

“I am trying desperately to soak up the great moments of this year, because it is my last year. I am looking forward to finishing the cross country season strongly, but also to being a leader of the track and field team as well, as we have some lofty goals related to that,” Bendzinski said.

She will be back in action with the Orange and the Blue as they head to the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional competition on Nov. 10.

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