March 25, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After winning the titles at the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championships in February, the Navy men and Boston University women have been selected to do the same in the outdoor season as they took first place in the sport's preseason polls announced on Tuesday.
The Navy men captured 14 first-place votes and 126 points to come in ahead of four-time defending outdoor champion Bucknell with the remaining four first-place nods and 115 points. Army (103), Boston University (79), Lehigh (72), Lafayette (60), Holy Cross (37), American (28) and Colgate (28) rounded out the rankings.
Boston University was a solid top pick on the women's side after making its Patriot League debut with the team title at the indoor championships. The Terriers picked up 15 first-place votes and 157 points overall, coming in ahead of Lehigh (133 points/2 first-place votes), Navy (129/2) and defending champion Bucknell (127/1). Holy Cross (93), Army (87), Lafayette (71), Colgate (47), Loyola (36) and American (20) completed the women's poll order.
Head coaches and sports information directors voted in the preseason poll, and were not allowed to select their own teams. The 2014 Patriot League Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be hosted by the United States Naval Academy at Ingram Field in Annapolis, Md. on May 2-3.
The Navy men and Boston University women both come off impressive performances at the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Mids won on the men's side with 201.83 points to come in front of second-place Bucknell with 173, while the Terriers dominated the women's event with 210 points to easily outdistance Lehigh at 130. Individual meet awards on the men's side went to Boston University's Rich Peters (Track Athlete), Bucknell's Ray Holmes (Field Athlete) and Army's Jose Santana (Rookie), while the women's honors were won by Holy Cross' Stephanie Okpoebo (Track Athlete) and Lehigh's Brooke Astor (Field Athlete) and Courtney Avery (Rookie). Navy's Stephen Cooksey and Boston University's Robyne Johnson were Coach of the Year honorees for leading their teams to the titles.
Navy's Jay Stell (Rookie of the Year) is the only returning men's individual honoree from last year's Patriot League Outdoor Track and Field Championships, while all three return on the women's side with Okpoebo (Track Athlete) along with Navy's Maressa Guynn (Field Athlete) and Bucknell's Chrissy Haney (Rookie).
Returnees who won events at last year's Patriot League Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship include Navy's Weston Kennedy (1,500-meters), Zack Duncavage (Discus), Mark Vetere (Pole Vault) and Stell (Javelin), Bucknell's Kevin Keller (Long Jump) and Ray Holmes (Triple Jump)Lehigh's Ryan Paquin (Decathlon) and Patrick Ciez (High Jump) and Army's Clyde Wilson (800-meters) and Shane Jones (Shot Put). Duncavage set the Patriot League Outdoor Championship record with mark of 58.74 in the discus, and went on to finish 11th in the event at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America recognition.
Okpoebo (100-meter and 200-meter) and Astor (Heptathlon and 100-meter Hurdles) both return on the women's side after winning multiple events last year, and overall there are 14 returning champions from the 19 individual events last year. Bucknell's Jennifer Zymet (400-meters), Haney (400-meter Hurdles), Alyssa Cardillo (Long Jump) and Sophia Nnadi (Shot Put) all won events last year along with Navy's Crystan Mclymore (Triple Jump), Alix Membreno (Javelin) and Guynn (Discus), Lafayette's Rose Willey (3,000-meter Steeplechase) and Elise Buffinton (Pole Vault) and Lehigh's Jimil Ataman (Hammer Throw). Guynn set the Patriot League Outdoor Championship record with a mark of 51.97 in the discus. Okpoebo will try to become a four-time champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter, while Zymet aims to do the same in the 400-meter. There have only been six student-athletes to win the same event in all four of their seasons at the Patriot League Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Last season, Bucknell pulled off a sweep of the Patriot League Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the third time in four years as the Bison won the title on both the men and women's side on May 4 at Lehigh's Goodman Campus Track The Bucknell men took home their fourth-consecutive outdoor title, finishing with 184 points to pull in ahead of Army (170) and Navy (159). The Bison women came in first place with 183 points, in front of runner-up Navy (141) and third-place Lehigh (119.25).
The Patriot League outdoor track and field schedule got underway over the weekend for seven teams, with the remaining squads opening by this weekend. The slate continues through to the Patriot League Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Navy on May 2-3.
Patriot League Men's Outdoor Track and Field Preseason Poll
1. Navy (14 first-place votes), 126 points
2. Bucknell (4), 115
3. Army, 103
4. Boston University, 79
5. Lehigh, 72
6. Lafayette, 60
7. Holy Cross, 37
8T. American, 28
8T. Colgate, 28
Patriot League Women's Outdoor Track and Field Preseason Poll
1. Boston University (15 first-place votes), 157 points
2. Lehigh (2), 133
3. Navy (2), 129
4. Bucknell (1), 127
5. Holy Cross, 93
6. Army, 87
7. Lafayette, 71
8. Colgate, 47
9. Loyola, 36
10. American, 20