David Lucas made the college track world sit up and take notice when he captured the weight throw at the NCAA Division I indoor championships March 9-10 in College Station, Texas.
Now, the Penn State junior and Warwick grad is hoping to raise some eyebrows during the championship season, which begins with the Big Ten Conference meet starting Friday in Bloomington, Indiana.
Earlier this year, Lucas entered the NCAAs after finishing second in the Big Ten indoor meet with a throw of 76 feet, 5¾ inches. He then won the national title with a personal best 78 feet, 9¾ inches, more than two feet better than his previous effort.
He is seeded fourth in the discus (200 feet) and 13th in the hammer (201 feet) for the Big ten championships.
“Winning the NCAA indoor title was a bit of a surprise for myself as well as for David,” Nittany Lion throws coach Lucais MacKay said. “That was never on our radar, but the development of the technique over the fall was extraordinary and the results just kept on increasing.”
Lucas finished fifth in the discus (184 feet, 11 inches), sixth in the hammer (208 feet, 2 inches) and 13th in the shot put (56 feet, 9¼ inches) at last year’s Big Ten outdoor championship.
MacKay believes that what Lucas did at the NCAAs this past winter will have an effect on him from here on out.
“The confidence in himself as a thrower can be carried over from the success he’s had,” the coach said. “It’s not hypothetical now.”
Following the Big Ten championships, the East Regionals will be held May 24-26 in Tampa, Florida, and the NCAA championships are set for June 6-8 in Eugene, Oregon.
AROUND THE SCENE
Lauren Lichtenwalner (Hempfield): The sophomore right-hander picked up a victory in relief to help the Bucknell softball team close out its regular season with a 2-1 victory over Boston University on April 29.
She worked the final 4.2 innings and gave up four hits, an earned run and walked three. Lichtenwalner is 6-9 with a save and a 3.93 ERA for the 26-21-1 Bison.
She’s worked 89 innings and given up 96 hits and 65 runs, 50 earned, with 35 walks and 36 strikeouts. She’s also hitting .250 (15 for 60). Bucknell will be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Patriot League playoffs starting Thursday in Lewisburg.
Toni Yuko (Manheim Township): The senior scored 17 goals for the Temple women’s lacrosse team, the Owls finishing 9-8 overall and 4-5 in the Big East Conference after a 15-8 league loss to Georgetown on April 28. Yuko had a goal in the game.
The 5-foot-5 attack scored a career-high six goals in an 18-5 league triumph over Butler on April 14 in Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Kelsea Hershey (Warwick) played in seven games with a start and freshman Olivia Martin (Lampeter-Strasburg) played in five games off the bench — both as backup goalkeepers for the Owls.
Natalie Sukanick (Cocalico): The Millersville junior defender was named to the PSAC women’s lacrosse second team. She had 45 ground balls and 35 caused turnovers for the Marauders, who finished 10-7 overall and 5-7 in league play.
Marauders teammate Jasa Lorah (Cocalico) was named to the PSAC third team. She had 49 ground balls, 37 draw controls and 19 caused turnovers.
Jessica Cochis (Warwick): The 5-foot-4 sophomore goalkeeper wrapped up her season with the 8-7 Illinois Tech women’s lacrosse team by being in front of the net for four straight victories.
Cochis had five saves in an 11-8 victory over Aurora on April 17, eight saves in a 16-9 triumph over Loras on April 21, 12 saves in an 11-4 win over Wartburg on April 22 and six saves in an 18-6 victory over Beliot on April 24.
She finished with a 7-3 record, giving up 87 goals and making 76 saves.
Jarret Abernethy (Hempfield): The Alvernia men’s lacrosse team suffered through a 2-14 season with a 0-8 mark in MAC Commonwealth play, but the Golden Wolves to a big effort from the 5-foot-8, 165-pound midfielder.
Abernethy led the team with 38 goals, had nine assists and totaled a team-high 47 points. He also had 50 ground balls and nine caused turnovers, and that performance earned him All-MAC Commonwealth second-team honors.
He’s had 70 goals and 13 assists for 83 points in 32 games the past two seasons.
Ashley Royer (Warwick): The junior led the Wesley softball team with a .446 batting average. She had 45 hits in 101 at-bats with 10 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 21 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
The runs scored also led the Wolverines, the doubles were tied for first and the RBIs ranked second.
The third baseman had four errors on 103 chances (.961). Wesley finished the season with a 13-17-2 overall record and a 3-10-1 mark in the Capital Athletic Conference.
Adam Bahney (Elco): The sophomore competed in both singles and doubles with the Coast Guard Academy men’s tennis team, the Bears finishing 8-5 on the season.
Bahney was 5-2 in singles including a 3-0 record in tournament play. He was 9-10 in doubles, 5-3 in tourneys. He was 2-7 at No. 1, 1-0 at No. 2 and 1-0 at No. 3. Coast Guard saw its season end with a 5-4 loss to Babson last Wednesday in the New England Men’s and Women’s Conference semifinals. Bahney won his No. 3 doubles match, 8-4.
Conor Bawiec (Cedar Crest): The 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior hit .314 (40 for 128), starting all 35 games for the Elmira baseball team.
The Soaring Eagles finished 7-28 overall and 4-14 in the Empire 8 Conference.
Bawiec had six doubles, a triple, 17 runs batted in and a team-high 26 runs scored.
He played in 132 career games and every one of Elmira’s games the past three seasons and collected 169 hits, batting .369 as a freshman, .395 as a sophomore and .346 as a junior.
Erin Volutza (Lancaster Catholic): The Wilkes junior was named to the MAC Freedom second team in singles last Friday for her play with the Colonels women’s tennis team.
She is 11-2 playing mostly No. 3 and No. 4 singles. She was a second-team choice as a freshman as well. Volutza is also 8-2 at No. 3 doubles with senior Brittany Stratton of Mountain Top. The duo posted an 8-3 victory to help Wilkes defeat Misericordia in the MAC Freedom semifinals last Tuesday.
Laurence Busque (Manheim Township): The junior defender had 39 ground balls and a team-high 39 caused turnovers for the Allegheny women’s lacrosse team.
The Gators finished 9-8 on the season after losing to No. 1 seed Denison 24-8 in the North Coast Athletic Conference semifinals last Wednesday in Granville, Ohio. Busque had five caused turnovers and four ground balls in the game.
Allegheny earned the fourth seed in the playoffs with a 22-8 victory over Hiram in the final regular-season game April 28 in Meadville.