BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s track and field team will head to Worcester, Mass. this weekend to compete in the Patriot League Outdoor Championships. The Mountain Hawks have had a stellar outdoor season and will look to continue to ride the momentum into the meet they have been training for all season. The Championships will begin Friday at 9 a.m. and start up again on Saturday at 11 a.m.
"There is a lot of anticipation; this is what we have been working towards all season," said head coach Matt Utesch. "We are excited to get going and I think everyone is chomping at the bit to do what we’ve been waiting to do."
Lehigh has had a strong outdoor season, including a dual meet win at Lafayette. Most recently, the Mountain Hawks are coming off some big performances at the Penn Relays and Lehigh Games. Evans Kosgei’s run in the 5000m Championship Race at the prestigious Penn Relays broke a 36-year-old school record as he placed 10th in the event with a time of 14:10.3, surpassing the previous record of 14:12.33 which was set by Wayne Rogers in 1976. Kosgei’s time also qualified him for the IC4A Championships which will be held next weekend in Princeton, N.J.
For his efforts, Kosgei was named the Patriot League Track Athlete of the Week. It was his second straight week winning the award as Kosgei, as two weeks ago, Kosgei finished eighth in the 3000m steeplechase at the Larry Ellis Memorial hosted by Princeton where he posted an IC4A time of 8:52.41. Kosgei’s time also set a school record, surpassing the 8:54.72 set by Alex L’Heureux in 2002. His time also might be good enough to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships, which will take place in Jacksonville, Fl. May 25-26.
Jimmy Miller (14:31.26) and Tyler Mueller (14:38.22) had standout performances in the 5000m College race at the Penn Relays as the duo placed sixth and 13th respectively. Miller's time qualified him for the IC4A Championships while Mueller was just a few seconds off.
At the Lehigh games, the Mountain Hawks dominated, winning nine events, with two wins coming from Seth Robinson in the 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles.
On April 7, Lehigh defeated Lafayette 112-91 as the Mountain Hawks won 10 events to continue its success vs. the Leopards; it’s been two full years since the squad’s last loss to Lafayette (including indoor and outdoor).
At the 2011 Outdoor Championships, Lehigh placed fourth with 91 points behind Bucknell, Army and then Navy. Lehigh had four Champions in Kyle Forrest, Patrick Ciez, Kosgei and Stephen Tutunjian whom earned First Team All-Patriot League honors while Tutunjian and Kosgei also earned Second Team honors along with Alexander Maurer.
Tutunjian was named the Field Athlete of the Meet while Ciez was named the Rookie of the Meet. Tutunjian won the long jump and finished second in the triple jump while Ciez won the high jump.
"We just want to again get as many Patriot League Champions as we can and we have a lot of guys who are setup to do just that," Utesch said. "We are excited about where the men are and what they can do. I think it’s going to be important for our favorites to win their events and then we need some guys to make a splash in other events but I’m excited and looking forward to it and I can’t wait to see what we can pull off."