BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After posting seven victories over the first 16 events, the Lehigh men’s track and field team squared off against Lafayette in the 4x800m relay in a winner-take-all event. The Leopards came out victorious which gave Lafayette the 91-89 edge over the Mountain Hawks in the meet.
"It shouldn’t have come down to that race," said Lehigh head coach Matt Utesch. "We should have never been in that situation for the meet to come down to the relays because our men’s team is deep and strong. They just didn’t get it done today and when you leave the door open a little bit, Lafayette jumped all over it."
Deadlocked at 86 points apiece, the Lehigh men’s track and field team squared off against Lafayette in the 17th and final event, the 4x800. The teams traded leads many times during the race, but the Leopards were able to push across the finish line for a victory just over one second ahead of the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh’s team of sophomore Simon Voorhees, sophomore Gregory Caldwell, junior Kenneth Wilkinson and junior Sam Bernitt put forth a valiant effort in the deciding race, but were unable to knock off the Leopards.
Prior to that race, senior Lyle O’Brien made a gutsy decision to take an early lead in the men’s 3000 meters and was able to keep his advantage through the finish line, posting a time of 8:32.64 for the victory, propelling Lehigh to a lead late in the meet. The Leopards went on to take the 4x400 meter relay which forced a winner-take-all in the 4x800.
"The guys are upset and they’re going to come back with a vengeance," said Utesch. "They’re motivated now."
Earlier in the meet, Lehigh posted impressive results, taking first and second in the high jump as junior Patrick Ciez and sophomore Adeolu Adesida turned in jumps of 2.00m and 1.95m, respectively. In the long jump, sophomore Derek Gaul posted a distance of 7.02m for the victory, followed by Paquin at 6.77m for second.
Paquin then went on to take the triple jump with a distance of 13.51m and 13.40m in the jump off. Junior Benjamin Beauchamp and senior Christopher Buck took first and second in the weight throw with tosses of 16.68m and 15.74m, respectively.
In the 60m dash, junior Martin Otieno continued his impressive season with a victory after crossing the line in 6.97 seconds, a full second ahead of the second place Leopard.
Monroe earned a victory in the 200 meter dash, posting a time of 22.55 which was just ahead of Otieno who came in at 22.59.
Lehigh will be back in action when it travels to the New Balance Championships on Friday, February 1 before hosting the John Covert Classic inside Rauch Fieldhouse on Saturday, February 2 beginning at 10 a.m.