BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After posting two victories at the John Covert Classic and an multiple ECAC-qualifying marks at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational a week ago, the Lehigh women’s track and field team will compete for the final time before the Patriot League Championships at the Lafayette Rider Winter Games. The Mountain Hawks will take to the track on Friday, February 8 at the New York Armory in New York City.
"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."
Last weekend, senior Lauren Pietrosh ran an ECAC-qualifying time of 2:55.56 in the 1000m, while fellow senior E’Lana Lemon continued to set Patriot League-bests with a toss of 18.16m in the weight throw. For her efforts, Lemon was named the Patriot League Female Field Athlete of the Week for the 13th time in her illustrious career. Lemon broke the Patriot League’s record for most weekly awards by a woman track and field athlete, eclipsing Marjorie Grap’s record of 12 weekly awards set through 2004-07. It is also the fifth time this season and fourth consecutive week she has garnered the honor, tying Grap’s marks in both categories set during the 2006-07 season.
Also at the Armory, the 4000m distance medley relay team set a school record with a time of 11:11:53.06, eclipsing the mark set last year of 11:57.24. The Mountain Hawks are looking to continue that success as winning breeds confidence.
"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."
At the Classic, Lauren Pietrosh continued her excellent weekend, earning a victory in the 500m dash with a time of 1:18.25, while fellow senior Brittany Pietrosh won the 800m run with a time of 2:19.81. The Mountain Hawks also posted multiple top five finishes on the day in a meet that included Moravian, Muhlenberg, Delaware, Shippensburg, Alvernia, West Chester, Kutztown, Messiah and Lafayette.
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 in search of even faster times.
"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."
After competing in the Lafayette Rider Winter Games, Lehigh will idle until February 15 when it travels to West Point, N.Y. for the Patriot League Championships. 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."