EASTON, Pa. – The Lehigh cross country teams competed at the Patriot League Championships Saturday at Lafayette’s Metzgar Fields. Junior Evans Kosgei posted his second straight runner-up finish in the men’s 8K to lead the Lehigh men to a fifth place finish, while Katherine Pierce earned All-League honors for the Mountain Hawk women, who finished seventh.
Kosgei finished with a time of 24:32 en route to first team All-League honors for the second straight year. As a team the Mountain Hawks placed fifth with 120 points.
“Evans was definitely a bright spot for us,” said Lehigh men’s head coach Todd Etters. “Overall though we’ve been missing something the whole season. There just wasn’t enough energy to compete at that level with the top teams in our league.”
Kosgei finished ten seconds behind Andrew Hanko of Navy, who repeated as individual champion, while leading the Midshipmen to their third straight team title. Navy finished with 43 points, nine better than second place American. Army (86) finished third, followed by Colgate (106), with Lehigh finishing 14 points behind the Raiders and ten ahead of fifth-place Bucknell.
Others who competed for the Mountain Hawks included senior Andrew Jervis who finished 20th (25:49), freshman Jimmy Miller, who placed 25th (25:58), junior Evan Flach (26:20) and senior Steve Sample (26:23) who finished 36th and 37th respectively. Freshmen Tyler Mueller and Sam Bernitt rounded out Lehigh’s top seven.
The Lehigh women hoped to improve on last year’s seventh place finish but were unable to do so. Katherine Pierce led the way placing tenth overall in the 6K race to earn second-team All-League honors.
“It’s tough to explain or figure out right now,” women’s head coach Debbie Utesch said about the women’s finish. “Eleven of our 12 runners ran faster than they did in the Lafayette dual meet. There’s a lot of parity in the league, so we we’re a little blindsided by how the results came out.”
Pierce was unable to match last year’s third place finish, posting a time of 20:59. Colgate’s Elise DeRoo put forth a dominant performance, winning in 19:17, 50 seconds faster than teammate and runner-up Chelsea Burns. The Raiders placed three women in the top ten and came away with their first team title.
All five Colgate scorers placed in the top-20 overall and the Raiders finished with four all-league selections. Bucknell placed second with 64 points, 18 behind Colgate, and Army took third place at 93. Lehigh’s score of 140 was four more than sixth-place American and 30 better than Lafayette.
“The league is strong,” Utesch said. “I never expected Lafayette to finish last on their home course. I thought we went into this race in a good place but it did not show in the results.”
Senior Andrea Mascaro was Lehigh’s next highest finisher, coming in 25th in 21:37. Freshman Jessica Kendzor placed 27th in 21:40. Sophomore Victoria Berard (22:00) and freshman Katherine Howley (22:05) completed Lehigh’s top five, finishing 38th and 40th respectively. Senior Alexis Weiner and freshman Hannah Pierce rounded out the top seven for the Brown and White.
Lehigh will now shift its focus to the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Qualifier, November 13 in University Park, Pa.
“The nice thing is we have our redemption race in two weeks,” Etters said about his men’s team. “I’m looking forward to seeing what Evans can do as he has moved himself into a group of runners that has a chance to go to nationals. As a team we need to be focused on competing much better than we did here today.”
“We’re going to go into regionals with a business as usual approach,” Utesch said about the women. “We’re going to stay sharp and ready like we thought we were going into this race. Our goal when we get to the starting line will be to finish in the top 15 regionally, which is where I think we belong.”