BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After break the 4x400m relay record at last weekend’s New Balance Collegiate Invitational, the Lehigh men’s track and field team will take to the track for the final time before the Patriot League Championships at this Friday’s Lafayette Rider Winter Games at the New York Armory. The Mountain Hawks will be looking to continue their success and build momentum toward the championships.
"This week’s meet is a lot like last week’s meet in that we are aiming to improve seed times and marks for the Patriot League Championships," said Lehigh head coach Matt Utesch. "The track is extremely fast, we saw that last week, and we know we can go there and do good things."
The Mountain Hawks will look for another strong showing at the Armory as last weekend, junior Jimmy Miller ran an IC4A-qualifying time of 14:40.16 in the 5000m, while sophomore Adeolu Adesida jumped a qualifying height of 2.04m. Lehigh competed against some of the best teams in the nation, including No. 1 Arkansas and four more of the top six teams in the country.
"We’ve tapered down our training and we expect more of what we had last week," said Utesch. "There’s a tremendous amount of confidence gained after running some of the fastest times of your life. You know once you’ve done it, you can do it again and that’s what it takes to go to the Patriot League Championships and be successful."
Also last weekend, Lehigh hosted the 21st John Covert Classic in which the Mountain Hawks brought home five victories, including Miller in the mile with a time of 4:25.39 to clip the 28 remaining competitors. Also earning a victory was freshman Evan Ward in the 5000m, beating out the 15 other competitors by almost eight seconds with a time of 15:41.87.
Now, Lehigh will return to New York City and take the track once more before traveling to West Point, N.Y. for the Patriot League Championships. The Mountain Hawks have lightened up on their practices and moved toward speed training as they will compete for the league crown in just over a week.
"We’ve been taking it one week at a time all year long," said Utesch. "When you overview your season, you know when the ultimate goal is set for, but you have to take it one week at a time and one step at a time to prepare for that."
The Lafayette Rider Winter Games will include 13 teams including Patriot League-foes Lafayette and Army, along with Rider, Columbia, Delaware (W), UPenn,, UConn (M), Iona, Rutgers, Williams & Mary, Rhode Island (M), La Salle and Saint Joseph’s as Lehigh makes it second trip in as many weeks to the New York Armory.
After this Friday’s meet, Lehigh will idle until February 15 when it travels to West Point, N.Y. for the Patriot League Championships. During the three-day event, Lehigh will be in search of its first Patriot League Championship.
"We’re very anxious to get to the championships," said Utesch. "We had a captains meeting on Tuesday to discuss our expectations from each event group. It’s interesting to see the leaders of the team fighting for points in a meet about a week and a half before the actual event."