PHILADELPHIA – Senior Catherine Buczek shot up the NCAA performance list with a blazing time in the 400-meter hurdles and helped two relay teams post season bests as the Ursinus College women's track and field team took on the world-famous Penn Relays on Thursday.
Buczek ran a sizzling 1:03.62 in the 400-meter hurdles, taking over the top spot in the CC by a wide margin; the second-best clocking this season is 1:05.30. Buczek's career effort vaulted her all the way up to a tie for 26th in Division III and is believed to rank second in program history behind only Latonia Tiggett's 1:02.84 in 2002.
Buczek made the most of her first individual appearance at the prestigious annual event, trimming almost half a second off her previous personal best (1:04.08) set during a silver-medal performance at last year's CC outdoor championships. Perhaps most impressively, she finished ahead of six Division I runners – one from Oklahoma, Towson, UMBC, and Navy in addition to two from Penn.
The 4x100-meter grouping of freshman Gianna Speranza, Buczek, sophomore Kira Miller, and freshman Rachel Coleman lowered its season best by a third of a second to 51.11, good for fifth in their eight-team heat. The Bears' quartet moved from sixth to third in the CC in the process.
The Bears' 4x400-meter unit of Coleman, senior Katherine Damato, senior Jenna Kelly, and Buczek competed in the annual Centennial/MAC showcase, shaving almost four seconds off their season best and navigating the Franklin Field track in 4:07.87. They placed eighth in the ten-team field.
The women's track and field team will compete in the Blue Jay Tune-Up at Elizabethtown on Saturday, the Bears' last action before hosting the Centennial Conference championship next weekend.