BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After finishing fourth in its first road meet of the season, the Lehigh men’s track and field team will host the Angry Birds at Lehigh meet on Saturday, January 19 inside Rauch Fieldhouse. Along with the Mountain Hawks, the meet will include Penn, Monmouth and Winthrop.
"This is going to be a different meet for us because of the way it is scored," said head coach Matt Utesch. "We’re going to score two people in every event which awards depth to the programs. We have selected the teams because they are complete teams with a lot of depth. This will be a good indicator as to what kind of team we have rather than what kind of individuals we have."
Last Saturday, Lehigh tallied 111 points and finished fourth among six teams at the Army six-way meet in West Point, N.Y. Sophomore Derek Gaul highlighted the meet with a victory in the long jump after posting a distance of 6.84 meters. Also turning in a solid performance was junior Martin Otieno who finished second in both the 60 meter dash and the 200 meter dash, registering times of 7.01 and 22.66, respectively.
The team is continuing to improve as the Patriot League Championships creep nearer. Utesch understands that the individual achievements thus far are great, but the team must continue to move forward as a whole.
"When we look back at the Army meet, we had a lot of great individual performances that we are immensely proud of, but this meet is not just about top-notch athletes," said Utesch. "This meet will be about the athletes we are developing and how we’re developing them and it’s going to be exciting to watch this meet."
Three Mountain Hawks now own Patriot League bests this year after the first three meets of the 2012-13 indoor season. Along with two on the women’s side, junior Ryan Paquin’s has posted the top distance in the long jump (7.05m) this season and currently holds the highest score in the heptathlon (4739).
"That’s really nice to see and they are great road signs on the way to the Patriot League Championships," said Utesch. "We know that we’re going in the right direction because we are always improving technique which allows us to improve performances. We’re not always peaked for performances because we’re working very hard during the week. We can set our sights on a meet or group of meets that we are going to ‘turn it on’ and are able to set our kids up to have their absolute best performances when we want to."
This weekend will mark the first that all eight Patriot League squads will be in action as Lehigh, Bucknell and Navy will host events while the five remaining institutions will travel. The Mountain Hawks will also get their second look at Penn and Monmouth as Lehigh has competed against both thus far this season, hosting Penn at the Fast Times Before Finals meet before competing against Monmouth last weekend at the Army six-way.
After this weekend’s meet, the Mountain Hawks will host Lafayette in a dual meet on January 26 inside Rauch Fieldhouse scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.