BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s and women’s track and field teams followed their strong showing at the Season Opener with yet another solid performance at the Fast Times Before Finals meet on Friday night inside Rauch Fieldhouse. The Mountain Hawks competed against Penn, Alvernia, Ursinus, West Chester, Rider, Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, DeSales Lock Haven, Lafayette and Millersville.
"We were looking to step up a little bit and I think we did in a lot of different places," said head coach Matt Utesch. "I’m pleased with the overall result and we had some real bright spots with a few people."
Lehigh turned in a strong performance in the men’s long jump as Derek Gaul placed second (6.99m), while Ryan Paquin finished in third at 6.91m.In the men’s pole vault, John Whitman finished third with a height of 4.35 meters, while teammate Tyler John tied for fifth at 4.20 meters.
Adeolu Adesida and Patrick Ciez placed third and fourth, respectively, in the high jump with distances of 2.00m each. Paquin also finished seventh out of 33 runners in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.52 as the first Lehigh finisher.
"Adeolu Adesida really stepped up in the high jump and showed that he’s got a lot more to offer," said Utesch. "Derek Gaul was a newcomer from the football program and really relied on raw talent with his performance and it was really good."
Lehigh showcased a strong effort in the 1000 meter run as Kenneth Wilkinson placed second out of 31 runners with a time of 2:34.15, while fellow Mountain Hawk Mitchell Biler finished fifth (2:35.22). The 4x800 meter relay team of Daniel Paez, Wilkinson, John Ciavardelli and Jon Merwine finished second in the event, crossing the line in 8:08.57.
Christopher Buck performed well in both the weight throw and shot put, placing fourth in the weight throw with a distance of 16.26m, while finishing sixth in the shot put after a toss of 13.98m.
On the women’s side, Lehigh was highlighted by first place finishes from Brittany Pietrosh in the 1000 meter dash (3:03.82) and Danielle Albergo in the 400 meter dash (58.55). Brooke Astor was the first Mountain Hawk to cross the line in the 60 meter hurdles (9.11), while Khaaleedah Smith was the first Lehigh athlete to finish in the 60 meter dash, turning in a time of 8.15.
"Danielle (Albergo) had a phenomenal day as did Brittany Pietrosh," said Utesch. "Really we had a workmen-like effort and it’s always good to see that."
Kylie Gray was the top finisher for the Mountain Hawks in the pole vault, notching a height of 3.15 meters, while teammate Jonelle Jerwick turned in the same height as the two tied with two athletes for West Chester for an eighth place finish.
Reigning Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week E’Lana Lemon finished second in the weight throw, registering a distance of 17.06 meters, just .05 meters behind the first place finisher from Rider (17.11).
Serenah Polite turned in a second place finish in the long jumper with a distance of 5.47 meters, just .03 meters behind the winner of the event from Penn. Lauren Pietrosh also turned in a second place finish, crossing the line in 5:13.39 in the mile run.
The 4x800 meter relay team of Ingrid Simon, Julia Perry, Jessica Kendzor and Victoria Mullane placed second in the event with a time of 9:48.58.
"What we’re achieving right now is based solely on technique so when we freshen up and get a little faster we’re going to be able to mix that with our technique and put up some good results," said Utesch.
Lehigh will now break until January 12 when the teams travel to the New York Armory before returning home to host the Angry Birds at Lehigh meet on January 19 inside Rauch Fieldhouse beginning at 10 a.m.
"We’re going to be looking to get a bit healthier over the break," said Utesch. "A few of the kids are dinged up because fall training always takes more out of you than you think it does, but when we come back we’ll be a much more focused program across the board."