Posted: November 14, 2009
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – The Lehigh men’s and women’s cross country teams finished their seasons on a strong note at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Saturday. The men’s team finished in 15th place out of 28 teams and the women’s team earned a 16th place finish out of the 27 that competed. Evans Kosgei led the men’s team with a 17th place finish and he became the highest finisher in Lehigh men’s cross country history at Regionals. Sophomore Katherine Pierce crossed the finish line in 49th place to lead the women’s team.
“The course was a mud bath because of the hurricane,” women’s head coach Debbie Utesch said. “We were running without Alexis Wiener and we knew we had to get off the line better than we did at Patriots a few weeks ago. We wanted to run the first 400 well and get settled in. We were much more poised and put together a much better performance.”
“The course was a mess,” men’s head coach Todd Etters said. “In a 10k race the first two are very important and we got pinched a little getting out, but the guys ran pretty well despite the tough conditions.”
The men finished with 363 points as four Lehigh runners finished in the top 100: Kosgei in 17th, senior Doug Ridyard in 46th, junior Andrew Jervis in 91st and senior Kenny Burgess in 97th. For Kosgei it capped off a great season in which he was named to the First Team All-Patriot League and was the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year.
“Evans is right on the doorstep of going to nationals,” Etters said. “He handled himself well today as he made it to about the eight mark before they pulled away from him.”
Georgetown was the top finisher on the men’s side with 38 points followed by Villanova (48 points) and Saint Joseph’s (181 points).
The women’s team finished with 455 points and was able to bounce back from a 7th place finish at the Patriot League Championship. The Mountain Hawks had three runners finish in the top 100 and they were: Pierce 49th, senior Kaitlin Grimm (67th) and senior Andrea Mascaro in 80th. Like Kosgei, Pierce was named to the All-Patriot league first team and has been Lehigh’s most consistent runner.
“Katherine took a chance to try and run with the top-25 because she had nothing to lose,” Utesch said. “She put herself out there and got to experience what it was like to run with some great competitors. She did a good job of collecting herself mid-race and it shows that she is a poised runner. The experience she gained today will pay dividends in the future.”
Utesch continued, “Grimm and Mascaro had significantly better races today. Mascaro had a tremendous return from having the swine flu at Patriots. Grimm had a much better performance and she was able to beat some girls from that she lost to a few weeks ago.”
Villanova came in first on the women’s side with 23 points followed by Princeton (77 points) and West Virginia (82 points).
Today’s race wrapped up the cross country season for both teams and things are looking bright for the future.
“This was a much better way for the senior class to end their careers,” Utesch said. “We came in today a lot more ready to race. We wanted to finish top-two this season, but things didn’t shake out like we wanted. Katherine has become a very strong runner that has an excellent sense of pace. She can respond to things and definitely is turning into a front runner. Things are looking bright for the future.”
“We had a great senior class this season that kept everyone focused,” Etters said. “I think they helped Evans blossom and it was great to end their careers finishing in the top-15 of the region. Guys are going to take a few weeks off then indoor track starts. We have a bright future with a lot of things to look forward to.”