Posted: September 13, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s and women’s cross country teams ran away to victory over archrival Lafayette on both sides Saturday on Goodman Campus. Senior captain Jonathan Wetzel took the win for the men’s team, who dismantled Lafayette, finishing with the top seven runners of the race, en route to a perfect 15-50 win. On the women’s side, Shannon Alejandro led the Mountain Hawks to a 21-40 win by winning her second-consecutive race.
“It was great just to win the race as a senior, and to beat Lafayette in all four of my years here,” Wetzel said. “It was just an awesome feeling.”
The wins give Lehigh an even greater advantage in the overall series between the two rival schools, with the men now holding a 47-32-1 lead and the women extending their advantage to 13-11. Saturday’s meet also continued the recent success Lehigh has had over its rival from down the road, as the men won their 10th dual in a row and the women won their eighth in the last 11 meetings.
The weather was not ideal for a cross country race, with plenty of humidity in the air after a rain storm Friday night. Because of the harsh conditions, Lafayette only had four competitors finish on the men’s side, helping Lehigh roll to the sweep.
For men’s head coach Todd Etters, it was his second victory in as many meets as head coach of the Mountain Hawks.
“When I woke up this morning and saw that it was 99 percent humidity, I knew that there were going to be tough conditions and that the times weren’t going to be what they could have been,” he said. “For our upperclassmen, especially our seniors, they’ve been working toward a 15-50 sweep of Lafayette for the last couple of years, and it’s gratifying to see them get that this year.”
The women also braved the tough conditions to fight for a closer victory, but still managed to take nine of the top 11 spots in the race for a decisive win.
“It was a tough week with a lot of girls getting sick,” women’s head coach Debbie Utesch said. “It was hot and humid and we had to battle through some tough conditions. It was a great head-to-head rivalry and I really think a lot of girls stepped up, as well as the senior girls.”
For seniors like Shannon Alejandro, the win caps off a four-year streak of victories against the Leopards. And for Alejandro, it was even better because she took the top spot in the race.
“We’re pretty excited about the win today,” Alejandro said. “It’s a bittersweet thing because it’s our last Lehigh-Lafayette cross-country meet and we love this race. It feels great to go four years with a win against our rival.”
The cross country teams will hit the road for their next meet, heading to Van Cortland Park, N.Y. for the Iona Meet of Champions on Saturday, September 20.