BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh’s men’s and women’s track and field teams began their indoor season with a successful Season Opener that included 14 first-place finishers, a number of personal records and a solid foundation for what could amount to an extremely strong 2012-13 season. The women’s side was highlighted by first-place finish in the 400 meters by Danielle Albergo with a time of 59:45, while the men’s team featured a first-place by sophomore Benjamin Beauchamp in the weight throw with a distance of 15.83 meters.
"Tonight was exactly what I was looking for with solid performances across the board in a lot of events and I think our kids executed very well," said head coach Matt Utesch. "That’s what we were looking for because we wanted them to execute what they had been doing in practice and they did that."
Following Beauchamp in weight throw was senior captain Christopher Buck with a distance of 15.76 meters for second and junior Benjamin Sourbeer in fourth (13.87m).
In the high jump, junior Patrick Ciez won the event with an IC4A/ECAC qualifying distance of 2.04m, while sophomore Adeolu Adesida finished second at 1.99m.
Lehigh dominated the men’s 800 meter run, finishing four of the top five runners including sophomore Stephen Keith with a qualifying time of 1:59.45, followed by sophomores Christopher Watson who also qualified (1:59.82) in second and Gregory Caldwell (2:00.65) and Mitchell Biler (2:01.19) in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Junior Martin Otieno took home first in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.99, narrowly missing the qualifying time of 6.98. Finishing third was senior Devin Monroe, crossing the line in 7.08, just .05 behind the second-place finisher from Bloomsburg.
Freshman Ofomezie Emelle won the 60 meter hurdles in his first collegiate meet with a time of 8.68, edging the sophomore from Moravian by .02.
Lehigh junior Ryan Paquin turned in a strong heptathlon, finishing first or tied for first in five of the seven events for an overall score of 4739, including winning the 60 meter dash in 7.21, finishing ahead of fellow Mountain Hawk Andrew Culkin (7.66).
The Mountain Hawks took two of the top three spots in the shot put as Buck finished second with a distance of 14.41m, while sophomore Ryan Rhodes turned in a distance of 13.33 for third.
"When you have kids that come into the first meet and set personal bests, it could potentially be a problem, but we are performing at this level because we’re strong and executing the technique," said Utesch. "As soon as we focus on preparing for specific events and pull that technique together, we have the potential to explode."
On the women’s side, along with Albergo’s victory in the 400 meters, Lehigh took the top two spots in the 200 meter dash as senior Kristen Slotnick (26.85) and Albergo (26.90) finished first and second, respectively.
The Mountain Hawks turned in a dominating effort in the 800 meter run, taking the top three spots and four of the top five. Senior Lauren Pietrosh (2:19.78) edged out her sister Brittany Pietrosh (2:20.59) for first place, while they followed by sophomore Victoria Mullane in third with a time of 2:22.84. In her first meet, Ann O’Connell took home fifth in the event, crossing the line in 2:28.81.
Lehigh sophomore Serenah Polite won the 60 meter hurdles in 9.56, while junior Alexis Wachter won the high jump at 1.55m. The 4x400 relay team of Khaaleedah Smith, Babette Hohrath, Danielle Albergo and Taryn Schmelzinger finished second, clocking in at 4:10.29.
Sophomore Serenah Polite took second in both the long jump (5.47m) and triple jump (10.82), while junior Katie Baglio finished first in the shot put with a distance of 11.43m. Senior E’Lana Lemon continued the success, winning the weight throw with a qualifying distance of 17.17m.
Junior Brooke Astor won the pentathlon with a score of 3104, finishing first or second in four of the five events including wins in the 60 meter hurdles (9.02) and long jump (5.06m), while tying for first in the high jump (1.55m).
"Next week will be a little more of the same," said Utesch. "We have a chance to correct some mistakes and the jitters will be gone and so I think we will come back a little more confident."
Lehigh will be back in action next weekend when the Mountain Hawks host the Fast Times at Lehigh inside Rauch Fieldhouse on December 7, starting at 5 p.m.