Lehigh set to race at Mid-Atlantic Qualifiers
Posted: 11/11/2011 | Last updated: November 11, 2011 at 09:20 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh men’s cross country team will compete at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Qualifying race on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Princess Anne, Md. The Mountain Hawks will look to cap off a successful season by hoping to improve upon their current No. 10 ranking in the region. Lehigh finished 15th last year led by Evans Kosgei who finished 13th, becoming the first ever Lehigh men’s qualifier in the new format as well as Lehigh’s first runner to compete at NCAA’s since Jen Schappert in 2005.
At the qualifying race Saturday, the top two teams and four individuals per region automatically qualify while teams and individuals (who finish in the Top 25) are eligible for at-large bids.
Lehigh ended the season with some impressive performances at the Patriot League Championships where they took third place. Kosgei, a Kenyan native, faced a full-fledged blizzard along with the rest of the field and finished in fourth place to earn All-Patriot League honors.
That wasn’t the only award that Kosgei received as on Tuesday it was announced that he was named the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He previously won the award in 2009 and has been Lehigh’s front runner all year long has not only been successful on the course, but in the classroom as well with a 3.81 cumulative GPA in computer science.
Along with Kosgei, the Mountain Hawks will rely on a pack of others including sophomore Sam Bernitt who placed 15th overall at the Patriot League Championships and junior Lyle O’Brien who placed 17th in the race.
The Mid-Atlantic Region is comprised of high-level Division I programs as the qualfying race is a 10K. Princeton currently sits stop the region followed by Villanova, Georgetown, Penn State and rounding out the Top 5 is the Patriot League’s Navy. Two other Patriot League schools in the mix are No. 7 American and No. 12 Bucknell. Princeton (No. 9), Villanova (No. 13) and Georgetown (No. 23) are also nationally ranked.
Lehigh has already raced against most of the schools in the race this season, specifically earlier in the year at the Paul Short Run which was held on the Goodman Campus Course. The Mountain Hawks finished 20th in the race led by Kosgei’s 10th-place finish.
The Mountain Hawks ranking has fluctuated throughout the year. Lehigh has been as low as No. 14 and it’s been as high as No. 8 back on October 3rd – the highest the school has ever been ranked.