Track & Field Readies for Patriot League Championships

Lisa Junta

Lisa Junta

Feb. 15, 2012

Championship Event Schedule Get Acrobat Reader

 

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army will travel to Lewisburg, Pa., this weekend for the 2012 Patriot League Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Black Knight men will be in fighting for their first indoor title since 2010, while the women will look to end their 14-year drought with their first win since 1997.

Events are slated to begin at Bucknell’s Gerhard Field House on Friday at noon with the heptathlon and pentathlon, and continue through late Sunday afternoon. For the full schedule of events, see the PDF linked above.

Live Action
The Bison’s website will sponsor live results for this weekend’s league championships. Fans can follow the action by clicking here.

As They Stand
Entering the weekend, Army boasts 27 top-five marks on the Patriot League’s performance list this season. The Black Knight men own 17, including three by senior jumper Tom Wagner and two by senior middle distance specialist Chris Jones. Wagner has the league’s best high jump mark this season (2.14 meters), while ranking third in the long jump (7.14m) and triple jump (14.36m). Jones has the conference’s best 500m time this season (1:03.95), while listing fifth in the 800m (1:54.16).

Of the Black Knight women’s 10 top-five marks, freshman distance runner Lisa Junta and senior co-captain Christie Johnson claim two apiece. Junta boasts the Patriot League’s third-best times in the 3,000-meter run (9:51.34) and 5,000m (17:11.54), while Johnson ranks third in the high jump (1.65m) and second in the pentathlon (3345).

A Look Back
Army placed second in the men’s championship and fourth in the women’s at last season’s conference meet at Navy. The Black Knights won eight individual events at the 2011 Patriots, including two apiece by Domonick Sylve (200-meter dash; 60-meter hurdles) and Tom Wagner (high jump; triple jump). Sylve and Wagner were named Track Athlete of the Meet and Field Athlete of the Meet, respectively. Wagner joins classmate Michael Hutchins as the only two returning champions from a year ago. Navy swept both the men's and women's team titles at the 2011 meet.

The last time 2012 host Bucknell was the home of the Patriot League Championships was in 2008. During that meet, the Black Knight men placed third while the women finished in fourth place. The Army men own 14 team titles, while the women have won four.

Fresh Faces
Newcomers have played a large role in Army’s successes in 2012. Week-in and week-out, the Black Knights have recorded marks that rank on Army’s all-time top-10 lists. Of the 15 finishes added to the lists this season, eight were by Black Knights who are competing collegiately for the first time.

Three-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week Lisa Junta leads the way with three times that list among the best in Army history, including the second-fastest 5,000-meter finish (17:16.54) and third-best 3,000m time (9:51.34). The seventh-best mile mark (5:02.64) is also among Junta’s accomplishments this season. Classmates Katrina Donarski (500m – No. 10), Jennifer Comfort (800m –No. 9; 1,000m – No. 4), and Laurel Neposchlan (pole vault – No. 5), and sophomore newcomer Michael Hoffman (200m – No. 9) have all made instant impacts in their first season with Army track & field.

In First Class
Since first competing in the Patriot League Indoor Championships in 1994, Army has collected more All-League honors than any other program, including the most first-team accolades. The Black Knights have combined for 422 total certificates, including 374 first-team nods. Army added eight first-team certificates at last season’s indoor championships, including two by current senior Tom Wagner.

Engle’s Angle
“Our veteran female athletes are excited because we’re clearly on an upswing, supported by a strong freshman class,” said Army head coach Troy Engle. “We’re a different and better conference team than we’ve been in the past few years and are certainly headed in the right direction.

“Since the 2010 meet, our men have toppled off that top pedestal and our upperclassmen want to get back up there and go out with a bang,” Engle continued. “In the past this meet has been a one or two-team race; this year it’s definitely between three teams in Army, Navy and Bucknell.

“The quality of leadership and the understanding of the team aspect here at West Point bode well for success at a conference championship setting.”

Up Next
Army’s postseason will continue on March 3 and 4 when qualified athletes compete at the ECAC and IC4A Championships in Boston, Mass.

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