May 3, 2012
Patriot League Championship Central
Bison Feature: Hicks Wastes Little Time Sprinting to Success at Bucknell
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell men’s track and field will lay a lot on the line at this weekend’s Patriot League Championships. The Bison are looking for their third consecutive outdoor title and their first-ever indoor-outdoor sweep, and odds appear to be in their favor as nearly all of the individual winners from a year ago are on the 2012 roster. The two-day meet begins Friday in Worcester, Mass., at Holy Cross’ Hart Turf Complex.
Bucknell has captured each of the previous two Patriot League Championships outdoors, making it the only school other than Army to win more than one title in the league’s history. In 2010, which was the year of Bucknell’s first team trophy in 19 years, the Bison ended the Black Knights’ run of 16 consecutive wins. Bucknell has won three straight conference championships outdoors just one other time in program history when the 1975-77 squads dominated the East Coast Conference.
The Bison will be looking to make a bit of history in another way as well after winning the Patriot League Indoor Championships in February. The last time the Bucknell men swept the league’s track and field championships was in 1991, the Patriot League’s inaugural year. They also hope to team up with the Bison women’s squad, who also won the 2012 indoor league meet, to become the first Patriot League school to sweep both meets on both the men’s and women’s sides since Army from 1994-97.
A strong core of athletes returns in 2012 from Bucknell’s last two championship teams. Among them are six of seven individual champions – Robert Arent (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) in the 400 meters and 400 hurdles, Jordan Donaldson (Saxton, Pa./Tussey Mountain) in the 800, Justin Hicks (Wilmington, Del./Tower Hill School) in the 100, Leonard Joseph (Whitesboro, N.Y./Clinton) in the hammer throw and Luke Webster (Pataskala, Ohio/Newark Catholic) in the discus. Three-fourths of the winning 4x400 relay is also back for another turn.
“The men's meet will be very exciting meet with Navy and Bucknell really going at it,” said head coach Kevin Donner
, who was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year in both 2010 and 2011. “Army has improved a ton since the indoor season, and I expect them to be in the hunt as well. We have a good mix of seasoned veterans as well as youth, which will help us through the weekend that is a war of attrition with 22 events and only 32 athletes.”
- Highlighting the hurdles at the 2012 championships will undoubtedly be Arent. The two-time defending Runner of the Meet, Arent has won the 400 hurdles and the 400 meters in each of the last two years. He was also second in the 110-meter hurdles last season, a race in which he set the then-school record at 14.32 seconds. This spring, Arent broke his own high hurdles standard at the Colonial Relays at 14.31 seconds. His season best in the 400 hurdles stands at 52.82, and his lone 400-meter race ended with a win in 48.45 seconds.
- Entering the championship meet, Arent has the league’s top times in the 400, 110 hurdles and 400 hurdles this season.
- With four career outdoor Patriot League titles, Arent is tied for seventh-most in program history. He trails only Mike Geraghty, Thomas McLean and Noel Powell with six each and Paul Austin, George Buckheit and Greg Keller with five apiece. Three of the six ahead of Arent on the list – Geraghty, McLean and Buckheit – are members of the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame.
- Arent was recognized on Tuesday night at the 51st Annual Bucknell Athletics Senior Recognition Dinner. Arent received the evening’s top honor, the Christy Mathewson Award, which is presented “to the outstanding senior athlete.”
- Dan Mularz (Englishtown, N.J./Freehold Township) and Christian Lupica (Newtown, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) should also shore up the hurdles nicely for the Bison. Mularz was third in the 400 hurdles and fifth in the 110 hurdles at last year’s championships. The senior’s time of 14.86 seconds in the high hurdles was a career best and currently ranks ninth in program history. In his last time out, Mularz ran his top times of the season in both races at the Bucknell Team Challenge.
- The Patriot League Rookie of the Week on April 23, Lupica maintained his momentum out of the indoor season and into the spring. He recently won the 110 hurdles at the Bucknell Team Challenge, but he has already set program top-10 marks in the high hurdles (fourth, 14.47), 400 hurdles (ninth, 55.08) and the 200 meters (ninth, 21.69).
- The sprints have their own defending Patriot League champion thanks to Hicks. Now a junior, Hicks won the 100 meters last spring with a time of 10.69 seconds. His top time came in the prelims, however, when he clocked in at 10.67 seconds and earned the seventh-fastest mark in program annals. Hicks also finished third in the 200 meters at last year’s league meet. After running a personal best in the prelims, he upped his performance yet again in the finals for another career best at 21.59. That time is tied for seventh in program history.
- This spring, Hicks logged a season-best 21.78 in the 200, which earned him second place at the Bucknell Team Challenge. He also won the 100 at the Team Challenge, although his top mark of the season (10.84) came a week earlier at the Bison Outdoor Classic.
- Hicks made up one-half of an impressive 4x100 relay last year that placed second at the league meet and did so with a school-record 40.95. Joining Hicks on that quartet were recent graduates Marlon Woods and Isaih Bell as well as Kamal Riley (Hyde Park, Mass./Charlestown).
- Riley did not qualify for the finals in either of his individual Patriot League sprints last year, but the sophomore has improved each of his times this spring. He now has career bests in both the 100 and 200. His first sub-11.00 second 100-meter dash came at the Colonial Relays in early April, and he posted a time of 10.90 seconds in the semifinals.
- The 800 meters should be a high point for the Bison and not just because they return 2011 champion Donaldson. Alex Jagelsky (Rutland, Mass./Wachusett) and Dustin Horning (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown Area) have provided depth in the event as well.
- Donaldson ran a then-personal-record 1:51.01 in the 800 at the 2011 Patriot League Championships. An All-Patriot League performer in each of the last two seasons, the senior improved on his career best this spring. His 1:50.96 earned his fifth place at the Bison Outdoor Classic and gave him the fourth-fastest time Bucknell has ever seen. It also gave him the fastest 800-meter time in the Patriot League this season.
- Donaldson also scored in two relays at the last league meet. He anchored both the 4x400 and 4x800. The 4x400 earned the win, while the 4x800 was third with one of the fastest times in school history.
- Jagelsky has raced three times in the 800 meters this spring. The freshman’s top outing came at the Bucknell Team Challenge on April 23 where he placed second behind Donaldson. Jagelsky’s time of 1:52.60 from that race ranks ninth on the program ledger.
- Bucknell will be looking for someone to step up in the distance events, and veteran Dave Brown (Westborough, Mass./Westborough) just might be the one to do it. The senior placed ninth in the 10,000 meters and 11th in the 5,000 at last year’s league meet. This spring, he has two wins – one in the 3,000 and another in the 1,500. Brown’s top 5K time this year came at the Bison Outdoor Classic where he crossed the line in 14:53.31.
- It’s hard to get much deeper than the Bison are in the throws events. Bucknell won three of four events at last year’s Patriot League Championships thanks to Joseph, Webster and Ted Heitzman (Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia) in the javelin. The only event that the Bison didn’t claim gold in was the shot put. Tom Barr (Ambler, Pa./La Salle College HS) was third in the event. At the end of the weekend, Bucknell’s throwers had amassed 41 points, or 22.0 percent of the team’s total.
- Barr showed off his all-around strength at his last outdoor championships by placing in the top 10 in all four events. In addition to his third-place showing in the shot put, he was also seventh in the hammer, eighth in the discus and ninth in the javelin. He has maintained his success this spring, setting the Bucknell record in the shot at 54 feet, 2 ½ inches in the first meet of the season. He also set new top-10 marks in the discus (fifth, 162-3) and the hammer (eighth, 182-11) at the Bucknell Team Challenge.
- Barr has the top shot put mark in the Patriot League this spring, but he’s not alone at the top of the rankings. Quinten Marcott (Wayland, Mich./Wayland) is third, Stephen Koullias (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) is fifth, Webster is sixth and Jack Fellows (Cumberland Center, Maine/Greely) is 10th.
- Marcott started the season strong and put up a career-best 52-4 ½ at the Colonial Relays in early April. He was fourth at the 2011 Patriot League Championships with a throw of 51-5 ½. Koullias is still looking to make his Patriot League debut, and the junior has put together a resume to do just that. In 2012, he has a career-best 51-11 ¼ that earned him the Colonial Relays victory. In five meets this season, he has dropped below 50 feet just once.
- After placing fourth in the hammer at the 2010 championship meet, Joseph improved to first the following year with a throw of 187-10. He’s poised to repeat this spring as he became just the fourth Bison in program history to throw better than 200 feet in the event. He currently ranks third all-time at Bucknell with a career-best 204-5.
- Joseph, who has the league’s best hammer throw mark this season, claimed the final three Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week honors this spring. With three on the year, and all three coming consecutively, the junior tied the league record for single-season and consecutive field accolades.
- The 2011 discus title was just the start of Webster’s success. Since throwing 160-4 for the win at the league meet last spring, the junior has improved his career best to 168-6, which is just six inches away from the school record of 169-0 set by J. Michael Dakan in 1978. Webster’s top throw earned him second place at the Bucknell Team Challenge, but he also won the event at the Towson Invitational to start the year. In five meets this year, he has yet to place lower than eighth.
- With Heitzman out of commission, Laddie Trees (Washington, D.C./Deerfield Academy (Mass.)) will look to take over the reins in the javelin. The freshman got off to a hot start, winning each of his first two meets and cracking the program top-10 in his collegiate debut. A two-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week this spring, he currently ranks seventh in the program record books with a throw of 208-7.
- With the likes of Andrew Powell (Charlton, Mass./St. John’s) and Jason Brown (Plainville, Mass./Bishop Feehan) in the high jump and Alex Prieto (Princeton Junction, N.J./West Windsor Plainsboro South) and Ray Holmes (Campbell, N.Y./Campbell-Savona Central) in the horizontal jumps, Bucknell is expected to collect its share of points in the event group. The 2012 indoor runner-up in the high jump, Powell placed fifth at last year’s outdoor meet. Then a junior, he cleared a career-best 6-8 ¼, tying him for fourth in program history.
- Brown placed ninth at last year’s outdoor championships with a then-career-best 6-2 ¼. This spring, he has improved that mark to 6-6 ¾, which he cleared at the Bucknell Team Challenge, sharing the win with Powell.
- Prieto earned fifth and seventh place in the triple jump and long jump, respectively, last spring. This outdoor season, the sophomore has a career best in the long jump with a mark of 22-7, which earned him the win at the Bucknell Team Challenge. He also set a season-best 46-3 ¼ in the triple jump at the Colonial Relays. The mark put him less than five inches off his personal record, which came last season and leaves him tied him for 10th in program history.
- Holmes missed the Patriot League Championships during his rookie campaign, but the sophomore is on track to make some noise this spring. In his latest competition, he set a season best in the long jump at 21-0 and placed second in the triple jump with a mark of 47-8. His best triple jump performance came earlier in the spring, however, where he improved to third in program history with a distance of 48-8 at the Bison Outdoor Classic.
- Daniel Markwalter (Vienna, Va./Thomas Jefferson S&T) has put himself at the forefront of Bucknell pole vaulting this spring. The junior, who tied for fifth at last year’s championship meet with a height of 14-9, has improved his personal record to 15-9 this season. He has two wins on the year coming at the Towson Invitational and the Bloomsburg Maroon & Gold Invitational.
- Powell will undoubtedly be the one to watch in the decathlon. The two-time defending heptathlon champion indoors, the senior became Bucknell’s first-ever decathlon champ in 2010. A year later, he dropped to third in the event standings but set the school record at 6,552 points in the process.
- Only four athletes in league history have won the heptathlon and decathlon titles in the same season – Lehigh’s Vaclav Malek (2005) and Edwin Schuck (2009) as well as Army’s Brandon Lewis (2006, 2007).
- Powell, who was also a starting defender with Bison men’s soccer, was one of several track and field athletes to be recognized at the 51st Annual Bucknell Athletics Senior Recognition Dinner on Tuesday. Powell received the Bryan-Humphreys Award, presented to senior athletes “who have exhibited exceptional versatility within his/her sport, displaying outstanding achievement and the selfless determination to help the team succeed by contributing in a number of ways.”
The postseason continues for the Bison at the IC4A Championships in Princeton, N.J., May 24-26. To date, 13 individuals and one relay have qualified for the meet.