ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Austin Bittenbender broke a program record that had stood since before World War II to provide the headline of a promising all-around effort for the Ursinus College men's track and field team, which combined five places with six finals qualifiers on Day 2 of the Centennial Conference outdoor championships.
The Bears ended the day in fifth place with 36.50 points, with a large haul ready to be unlocked on Sunday.
Bittenbender's sensational long jump distance of 22-9 was not only a personal best by four inches, but also finally put someone past the longstanding mark of 22-7 set by Rich James all the way back in 1938. The junior landed only an inch and a half off the podium in fourth place.
Freshman Zach Crebbin made it two place winners in one event for the Bears, earning sixth with a big PR of 21-10.25.
Bittenbender also joined freshman Octavious Carter in qualifying for the finals of the 100-meter dash. Carter marked a big PR with an 11.04 to finish second, while Bittenbender was sixth in a career-best 11.23.
Freshman Tyler Reilly put himself in championship contention with second-place finishes in the prelims of the 200 (22.46) and 400 (50.22); his time in the 200 was just .02 seconds off his collegiate best. Carter was just off his PR in the 200, where he finished fifth in 22.87 to earn a berth into the finals.
Freshman Bradley Duncan-Taylor will join Reilly in the 400 finals after crossing the line in 51.17, good for seventh overall.
Freshman Brandon Slaboda will also compete in a Sunday final after taking sixth in the 400-meter hurdles prelims with a career-best 1:01.99.
Junior Andre Kelly recorded a personal-best 1:56.82 in the 800, punching his finals ticket with a seventh-place showing.
Sophomore Griffin McMann finished one off the podium himself in the discus, launching a 127-4 to take fourth place.
Crebbin locked another place in the high jump, finishing sixth after clearing 5-10.75.
Junior Brody Johnson turned in a terrific all-around performance in the second half of the decathlon, logging massive personal bests in all five of the day's events to finish in fourth place overall with 3329 points. He was second in the 1500 (4:45.45), third in the 110-meter hurdles (19.92) fourth in the pole vault (10-2) and javelin (94-6), fifth in the discus (57-4).