Dec. 6, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The defending Patriot League indoor track and field champions each earned the top spot in the sport's preseason polls announced on Thursday.
The Navy men captured 14 first-place votes and 126 points to come in ahead of Bucknell (109) and Boston University (102), which grabbed the remaining four first-place votes. The rest of the men's poll included Army (91), Lehigh (71), American (54), Lafayette (49), Colgate (25) and Holy Cross (21).
The margin was similar on the women's side, with Bucknell also taking home 14 first-place votes with 155 points. Navy followed with 144 points and five first-place votes while Boston University had 130 points and the remaining first-place vote. The rest of the poll order featured Lehigh (116), Army (95), Holy Cross (79), Lafayette (63), Loyola Maryland (46), Colgate (42) and American (30).
The 2014 Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championships will be hosted by Bucknell University at Gerhard Fieldhouse in Lewisburg, Pa. from Feb. 21-23.
The Navy men had a dominant performance at last year's championship, and have a number of key contributors back in 2014. The Mids return last season's three major award winners in Weston Kennedy (Tracy Athlete of the Meet), Zack Duncavage (Field Athlete of the Meet) and Austin Batiste (Rookie of the Meet). Kennedy won the 1,000-meter run and the mile, Duncavage was League champion in the weight throw and Batiste claimed the 400-meter run title. Mark Vetere is also back after winning the pole vault for the Mids.
Other returning individual event winners from last year's Men's Indoor Track and Field Championship include Army's Stevyn Spees (500-meter) and Clyde Wilson (800-meter), Bucknell's Kevin Keller (long jump) and Ray Holmes (triple jump) and Lehigh's Adeolu Adesida, who set a meet record with a mark of 2.12 meters in the high jump.
The major award winners are all back on the women's side, too, with Army's Lisa Junta (Track Athlete of the Meet), Lehigh's Brooke Astor (Field Athlete of the Meet) and Holy Cross' Caroline Carley (Rookie of the Meet) all returning. Junta won the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs at last year's championship, while Astor claimed the pentathlon title for the third year in a row and Carley won the 1,000-meter run.
Additional individual champions who return from the 2013 Patriot League Women's Indoor Track and Field Championship are Bucknell's Jennifer Zymet (500-meter) and Sophia Nnadi (shot put), Colgate's Alicia Minella (200-meter and 400-meter), Holy Cross' Stephanie Okpoebo (60-meter), Lehigh's Jessica Kendzor (800-meter) and Lafayette's Elise Buffinton (pole vault).
While the returning major award winners and individual event winners already provide strong competition on both the men and women's sides, there will be additional challengers coming from the Patriot League's two new members, Boston University and Loyola University Maryland.
The Patriot League indoor track and field schedule begins this week, with each school taking part in at least one event before time off for exams and the holidays. The slate will continue after New Year's and features home events for multiple schools heading into the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championships at Bucknell on Feb. 21-23.
Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Preseason Polls
1. Navy, 126 (14 first-place votes)
2. Bucknell, 109
3. Boston University, 102 (4)
4. Army, 91
5. Lehigh, 71
6. American, 54
7. Lafayette, 49
8. Colgate, 25
9. Holy Cross, 21
1. Bucknell, 155 points (14 first-place votes)
2. Navy, 144 (5)
3. Boston University, 130 (1)
4. Lehigh, 116
5. Army, 95
6. Holy Cross, 79
7. Lafayette, 63
8. Loyola Maryland, 46
9. Colgate, 42
10. American, 30