BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh men’s cross country team is looking to continue its successful season when it travels to race in the Iona College Meet of Champions Saturday at 10:15 a.m. The Mountain Hawks will look to improve upon their 12th place finish at last year's Meet of Champions as the squad is coming off an impressive victory at the Lehigh Invitational on September 2nd, earning a perfect score of 15. Lehigh won the Invitational last year as well, but this year’s team is younger and seemingly more formidable.
"Our two sophomores executed their race strategy perfectly," said head coach Todd Etters. "It’s always cool when you can have five guys control a race like that."
The top five finishers in the Lehigh Invitational included three sophomores and two seniors, displaying the young talent and veteran leadership that the squad utilizes. This duo of senior captains Evan Flach and Evans Kosgei, and sophomores Jimmy Miller, Tyler Mueller, and Sam Bernitt will look keep the momentum going.
At the 2010 race, Lehigh's top finisher was Kosgei who placed 18th while Flach and Miller both finished in the top 75. Lehigh was only 21 points shy of a top-ten team finish, and will be looking to improve upon that this year.
The meet will be run at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y, where Lehigh will compete against some of the top cross country teams in the region. LaSalle took the win last year, and will be looking to repeat that success despite losing to Lehigh a few weeks ago with a less-than complete team.
"This year we are focused on controlling what we can control and that’s our own race," said Etters. "If we can go out and race like this all season long I think we’ll be in really good shape."
Iona is an 8K course, which is more suited to Lehigh’s strengths as opposed to the short 6K course run at home a few weeks ago. This first 8K race will be a great test for Lehigh after dominating the 6K course.
"We went out a little faster than I expected at the Invitational, but that’s a good thing because that’s the way it’s going to be Saturday," said Etters. "We won’t be controlling the pace up front, but ideally if we can maintain the pace we had over an extra 2K, we’d be very happy with that."