Posted: November 13, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Princess Anne, Md. on Saturday for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Qualifiers. The men’s team is currently ranked 14th in the region heading into Saturday’s meet. The men and women last competed at the Patriot League Championship two weekends ago at Colgate. The men’s team, led by sophomore Evans Kosgei, placed fourth and the women’s team, led by sophomore Katherine Pierce, placed seventh.
“We’re running on a course we’ve never seen before, but we’re looking forward to racing at the 10k distance,” men’s head coach Todd Etters said. “We’re ranked 14th in the region and we will be competing against some teams that beat us earlier in the season. Almost everyone from the Patriot League should be competing and that’s how we’re going to measure ourselves based on how we do against teams that beat us earlier.”
“It’s a new course that we’ve never been to before,” women’s head coach Debbie Utesch said. “We’re excited to check out a new cross country site and it should be a good change of scenery. After the Patriot League Championship the team did some soul searching and realized it’s a privilege to run at this level. We have some holes in our lineup due to injuries, so we will see what we can do. I’m hoping we can sneak back into the top-15 in the region.”
At the Patriot League Championship Kosgei finished the race first for the Mountain Hawks with a time of 26:24 which put him in second place overall. He also was named to the First Team All-Patriot League. Senor co-captain Douglas Ridyard also ran well, finishing in 26:42.5 to place 11th overall. He was named to the Second Team All-Patriot League.
“I am hoping Evans will make Nationals which would be finishing in the top-10,” Etters said. “Ridyard should have a shot at All-Region which is finishing in the top-25.”
For the women, Pierce placed third overall with a time of 23:02.5. Like Kosgei, she was named to the First Team All Patriot League. Three other Mountain Hawks placed in the top 50, senior Kaitlin Grimm came in 20th, followed by junior Alexis Weiner and freshman Samantha Andersen in 37th and 41st place, respectively.
“It’s really interesting because this is the deepest pool of teams I’ve ever seen,” Utesch said. “There are five teams in our region within the top-15 nationally; this is the deepest of the nine regions. With the top five teams getting automatic bids to Nationals, Katherine will have to be one of the top finishers not on one of those teams.”
The Mountain Hawks top male runner, Evans Kosgei, was recently recognized as the winner of the 2009 Men’s Cross Country Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. Kosgei is the first Lehigh cross country runner to be honored with the award. Kosgei has had outstanding academic success at Lehigh, making the student athlete honor roll every semester and achieving a 4.0 in two separate semesters.
The men will kick things off at noon followed by the women who will hit the starting line at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday. Check back to Lehighsports.com for the latest news surrounding the races.