Women’s track and field captures League Championship, men finish third

Meaghan Shewbrooks

Dani Kaufman, Staff Writer

Consistency was key to the women’s track and field team securing its second consecutive Patriot League Championship title on Feb. 18, their 18th victory in the 28-year history of the team. Colleen Buckley ’18 was the standout of the meet, earning women’s Patriot League Track Athlete of the Meet recognition with her dramatic wins in the 5,000 meter race and 3,000 meter race, and her fourth place finish in the mile. The mile winner was none other than Christine Bendzinski ’18, who won the race for the fourth consecutive year, the fourth athlete in League history to do so. The Bison won by a margin of 4.5 points over runner-up Army.

Other key players for the Orange and Blue included the high jumpers. Lauren Hudson ’18 and Alexandra Butz ’21 placed first and second in the high jump, respectively. Hudson received her first gold medal, becoming the only Bison high jumper to secure a gold medal in the event since her coach, Amy Mantush ’10, did so back in 2010. Also scoring pivotal points for the Bison was Lexy Forrestal ’20, who tied for fifth in the high jump.

The sprinters, jumpers, and throwers for the Orange and Blue contributed to the winning effort as well. Kafilat Oladiran ’18  placed second in the 60 meter hurdles, while Kaitlin Salisbury ’20 also placed second for the 60 meter dash with a time of 7.69 seconds. Salisbury earned fourth place in the triple jump. Ella Schultz ’20 earned valuable points for the Bison when she came in third in shot put with a heave of 45-10.

“Knowing I have to compete in four events going into Leagues was definitely stressful, but I know it’s what is going to help the team the most. The hardest part of it is getting into the correct mindset for each event, each one being so different from the other,” Salisbury said.

The championship on the women’s side came down to the last race of the meet: the 4×400 relay. The Bison needed at least fifth place to win and for Army to come in at least third -which is exactly what happened – securing the coveted championship title for the Bison.

The Bison women also won the 2017 Patriot League Championship in cross country and now have added the indoor season title to their accomplishments. They will shoot for the “Triple Crown,” hoping to win the outdoor 2018 championship later in the spring.

“What led to this win was our mentalities. I stand by that it’s the not mentality of if we win the triple crown again, but when. And that will happen again,” Salisbury said.

On the men’s side, the Bison placed third behind Navy and Army in the Championship meet, their highest finish since placing second overall in 2015. Alex Dessoye ’21 earned the Patriot League Rookie of the Meet award for his efforts in the first place 4×400 relay team, and his second place finish in the individual 400 meter race.

Another star in the meet was jumper Nicholas Lombardo ’18 who placed first in the long jump, second in the high jump, and seventh for the triple jump. Meanwhile, Reggie Harris ’19 came in second place in the triple jump with a score of 47-9.

In the distance races, the most impressive performances for the Orange and Blue came in the mile race, where the Bison placed three runners in the top ten. Drew Dorflinger ’20 led the way in sixth with a time of 4:13.58, and Jacob Stupak ’20 and Will Bordash ’18 followed in ninth and tenth, respectively.

The most dramatic event on the men’s side was the 60 meter dash. Jeffrey Brown ’20 came in fourth, but the difference between his time and the winner’s was only .03 seconds. In the prelims on Feb. 17, Brown beat the school record with a time of 6.81 seconds.

Next up for the Orange and Blue are the IC4A Indoor Championships held in Boston on March 3-4.

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