BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s and women’s cross country teams defeated Lafayette Friday to kick off the 2011-2012 Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry series. The men won 15-50 for their 13th straight Lafayette dual win while the women won 20-39 for their sixth straight Lafayette dual victory. The men’s team placed runners in the top eight spots while the women had runners in seven of the top 10.
"I’m thrilled for Katherine to win the dual race in her senior year and go out with that kind of feather in her cap and Savanna has shown she is going be a consistent front runner for us," said women’s head coach Debbie Utesch. "Lafayette is a very good team and this isn’t a race about talent on paper but heart, pride and who is going to carry on the tradition."
Men’s head coach Todd Etters echoed those same sentiments.
"Anytime you can go out and do that well against your rival it shows a lot about the heart and commitment we have," said Etters. "I’m really proud of the guys, this is what we wanted to do and that’s come out and try to sweep them," said head coach Todd Etters. "I thought we did a great job of executing that. It goes to show how deep we are that we can have a pack of five within a second of each other."
In the women’s race, Katherine Pierce finished first with a time of 21:54.6 while Savanna Plombon took second. After those two, Shannon Nelson took fourth while Sam Anderson placed fifth and Amanda Gosselin, Jessica Kendzor and Marissa Galante finished seventh through tenth, respectively.
Lafayette placed its top runner third, Rose Wiley with a time of 22:55.5.
In the men’s race, Lehigh was led by Sam Bernitt who placed first with a time of 26:30.3 while Evan Flach, Evans Kosgei, Tyler Mueller, Jimmy Miller, Lyle O’Brien, Casey Gilboy and Ryan Mahalsky followed.
Lafayette placed its first runner in ninth place, Zach Lizmi with a time of 26:59.2
Both Lehigh cross country teams will return to its home course Friday, September 30 for the 38th-annual Brooks-Paul Short Run. The all-day event will open with collegiate races throughout the morning and high school competitions in the afternoon. Over 170 colleges are scheduled to compete including some of the top nationally ranked programs.
"Paul short is a very different animal than a dual race," said Utesch. "They will be lucky if they can find their teammates during the race, but we have been working on that all season. It’s going to be a very deep field competitively and it will give us a chance to see where we stack up."
"We have to figure out where we match up and executive like we did today," said Etters. "We want to run a nice solid pack all the way through the race. I think Evans is capable of a top 20 finish at a meet like Paul Short so he has to step up but I think our other guys are right there and ready for that type of competition."