BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh track and field teams will be sending five athletes to this year’s NCAA Regionals at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. On Thursday afternoon, the NCAA released the field which includes Emily Settle in the hammer throw, Alexandra Doersam in the long jump, Niall Buckley in the 800 meter run, Evans Kosgei in the 3000 meter steeplechase and Stephen Tutunjian in the triple jump.
"We are very happy to be competing on a national level," said Lehigh head coach Matt Utesch. "Lehigh has had so much success lately by appearing in the national spotlight for many sports like softball, basketball and football. Now it’s our turn. This is just more evidence that proves how successful Lehigh has been as a full department the last couple of years."
Settle, who finished as a runner-up at the Patriot League Championships, will represent Lehigh in the hammer throw at the NCAA Regionals. Settle has had a monster year, as she finished third in the hammer throw with an ECAC qualifying distance and a school-record at the time of 54.42 meters at the Penn Relays. Settle re-broke her school record later in the season, beating it by over a meter (55.53m). She was also named Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week on May 1.
"There are two significant things we can take out of this," said Lehigh head coach Matt Utesch. "The first thing is Emily Settle will be the only qualifying athlete that we will not have next year. The other four are coming back and that alone is huge for our program."
Doersam, who was a Patriot League champion in the long jump this year, will be representing the Brown and White in the same event at NCAA Regionals. Doersam, who entered the Patriot League Championships with a personal best of 5.68 meters, made huge strides. Joelle Neilson of Lafayette hit a distance of 5.75 meters. Navy’s Ashley Bucholz hit a distance of 5.96. Doersam, who edged that distance with 5.97 her second jump, then hit her final jump at a distance of 6.03 meters, a Patriot League Championship record. She was also part of Lehigh’s 4x100 meter relay team of Khaaleedah Smith, Kristin Slotnick and Melissa Knapp, which finished in third place with and ECAC qualifying time of 47.89 seconds. The group then went on to finish in a solid fifth place at the ECAC Championships.
Kosgei has been a monster in the distance events for Lehigh this season. He qualified for both the 10,000 meter run and the 3,000 meter steeplechase, but will just participate in the steeplechase due to the fact that both events take place on the same day. Kosgei, who was most recently named the Patriot League Track and Field Scholar-Athlete winner, was a Patriot League champion in the 10,000 meter run, clocking in at 30:20.08. Kosgei’s time was not only a school record, but it was a Patriot League Championship record as well. Kosgei beat the old record from 2004, which was set by American’s Matt Seymour. He was also an All-Patriot League second teamer in the steeplechase.
Tutunjian has been great for the Mountain Hawks this year, as he is coming off an appearance at the IC4A Championships. He was also a Patriot League Champion in the triple jump as he posted a mark of 7.32 meters, which was a personal best for him and an IC4A qualifying distance. For his efforts at the Patriot League Championships, he was named the Male Field Athlete of the Meet.
Lehigh’s final competitor at the NCAA Regionals will be Niall Buckley, who will compete in the 800 meter run. At the Patriot League Championships two weekends ago, Buckley earned six points for Lehigh in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:52.
The Preliminary Championships will be held May 26-28, with Indiana hosting the East Region and Oregon hosting the West Region. The qualifiers from each region will compete at the NCAA Championships June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Five League schools and 23 student-athletes will represent the Patriot League. The five competitors that Lehigh is sending is tied for the second most in the Patriot League.