---- — By The Daily Item
EASTON -- Elise Buffinton's Patriot League-best pole vault of 12 feet, 9 ½ inches earned her Patriot League Female Field Athlete of the Week honors this week.
The Lewisburg High graduate, a junior at Lafayette College, earned her first weekly award after being named honorable mention three of the first four weeks of the season.
"Elise has had an outstanding indoor season and has jumped very consistently," assistant coach Michele Curcio said.
"She works extremely hard every day at practice to better herself technically and has really become a student of the event."
Buffinton finished in first place at the Lafayette-Rider Winter Games last week. Her jump of 12-9½ broke her own Lafayette record and the mark is ranked in the top five on the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference performance list. The vault is also nearly a foot better than any other Patriot League competitor all season.
The Leopards are competing in the Patriot League Championships which began today and run through Sunday.
SOPER SHINES: Another Valley athlete, Emily Soper, a Selinsgrove grad, has earned accolades for his performances on the basketball court for Delaware Valley College.
Soper, a 6-foot-1 senior center/forward, was named to the Lehigh Valley Small College Basketball Team of the Year this week. Soper has averaged 12.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Aggies (9-14 overall, 3-9 MAC, Freedom). She has scored 1,300 career points, with 859 rebounds and 236 blocks.
READY FOR PRIMETIME: The CBS Sports Network will telecast Monday's Patriot League men's basketball game between Lehigh and Bucknell from Bethlehem. The Mountain Hawks and Bison are tied for first place at 8-1. Tip-off is 7 p.m.
The networks' coverage of the Patriot League will also include the tournament semifinals on March 9.
MAT MENTION: Four Lycoming College wrestlers, including Southern Columbia High grad Brian Watkins were named this week to the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference All-Academic team.
In addition to Watkins, a sophomore for the Warriors, the others named to the team were senior Tyler Cunningham and fellow sophomores Nikolas Christine and Cody Barbiche.
Student-athletes who have reached sophomore academic standing and are in at least their second semester on campus while maintaining either a cumulative or two-semester grade-point average of 3.3 are eligible for the team, which recognizes student-athletes who have wrestled in at least three competitions and were eligible to compete in the ECWC Championship Tournament.
Watkins, a criminal justice major, has posted a 19-10 record at 157 pounds, posting a 10-5 record in dual meets. His .655 winning percentage is tops on the team.
LOFTY STANDING: The Susquehanna men's and women's track and field teams remain in the top-10 of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Mideast Regional rankings.
The women's squad is ranked eighth in the region, with just one Landmark Conference opponent, Moravian, ranked above it.
SU's men, meanwhile, stand 10th in the region as Moravian is again the lone Landmark team above the Crusaders in the regional rankings.