BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After 14 first place finishers in the Lehigh Season Opener a week ago, the Lehigh men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete in their second meet as they host their annual Fast Times Before Finals meet on Friday inside Rauch Fieldhouse. The meet will be Lehigh’s last of 2012 as the teams continue to prepare for the Patriot League Championships.
"The level of competition will be a bit higher this weekend and so with the opening meet jitters gone, I am expecting to see better marks," said head coach Matt Utesch. "I think that we need to see a little more from the kids with a little higher level of competition."
Also competing in this weekend’s event will be Penn, West Chester, DeSales, Muhlenberg, Millersville, East Stroudsburg, Ursinus, Bloomsburg, Alvernia, Rider and Lafayette.
The Mountain Hawks will be looking to build on a strong Season Opener last weekend in which two squads combined for 14 first place finishers, highlighted by four ECAC qualifiers.
On the men’s side, junior Martin Otieno highlighted the Mountain Hawks’ performances, winning the 60 meter run in 6.99, narrowly missing the qualifying time, before crossing the line in second in the 200 meter dash (22.61). For his efforts, Otieno was an Honorable Mention Patriot League performer this past week. Utesch was pleased with his team’s performance and the foundation the brown and white set down which seems to show a bright future for Lehigh.
"The men’s team is a little deeper than I thought it was going to be and I’m excited about that," said Utesch. "We have good potential and I’m interested to see, especially the younger guys, which will develop. I think our strengths this year will be in our distances and our sprints, with some real bright spots in the jumps."
Patrick Ciez won the high jump with a qualifying distance of 2.04m, while Lehigh also dominated the men’s 800 meter run, finishing four of the top five runners including sophomore Stephen Keith with a time of 1:59.45, followed by sophomore Christopher Watson who crossed the line in 1:59.82. As a part of the pentathlon, junior Ryan Paquin hit the IC4A qualifying height of 2.04 in the high jump on his way to the victory in the Pentathlon.
With the slightly larger meet, Lehigh is hoping to continue the early season with technical adjustments, while continuing on the foundation set down last weekend.
On the women’s side, Danielle Albergo was at the top of the standings throughout the day, winning the 400 meters with a time of 59.45 before finishing second in the 200 meter dash (26.90), behind only teammate Kristen Slotnick (26.85) who won the event.
"Our women are strong across the board with solid kids in every event," said Utesch. "I think we have potential scorers in almost every event and we have some real superstars returning with Brooke Astor, Serenah Polite and E’Lana Lemon."
The dominating performance of the day was Lemon’s win in the weight throw, easily surpassing the ECAC qualifying distance with a throw of 17.17 meters, 3.17 meters ahead of the rest of the field. Along with the victory, Lemon was also named the Patriot League’s Female Field Athlete of the Week for the ninth time in her illustrious career.
"She’s (Lemon) so committed to the weight and to the hammer," said Utesch. "She’s always the first one at the track and the last one to leave. She is always in the weight room and watching video, just a very committed athlete. It wasn’t a question of if she would qualify for the ECAC Championship in the first meet, but how far her qualifying distance would be."
Also turning in a productive meet was sophomore Serenah Polite, winning the 60 meter hurdles in 9.56, while also taking second in both the long jump (5.47m) and the triple jump (10.82m).
In this meet, Utesch will be looking for his squad to execute similar to the Season Opener, but work to better the performance as Lehigh takes the next step towards February 15.
All of Friday’s action will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the field events. Campus bus service to Rauch Fieldhouse will be provided at 5:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
After this weekend’s meet, Lehigh will break until January 12, 2013 when the Mountain Hawks travel to compete at the New York Armory. The Mountain Hawks will host three more events this season: The Angry Birds at Lehigh on January 19, the Lafayette dual on January 16 and the John Covert Classic on February 2.
TimeSchedule: (We will run ahead of schedule if possible)
5:00PM Women’s Pole Vault (Men PV to follow)
Women’s 20lb Wt. (Men 35lb Wt to follow)
Women’s Shot Put (Following Men’s WT)
Men’s Shot Put (Following Women’s SP)
Men’s Long Jump (Women LJ to follow)
Men’s Triple Jump (Following Women’s LJ)
Women’s Triple Jump (Following Men’s TJ) *Four jumps only
Women’s High Jump (Men HJ to follow)
5:30PM Men’s 60m Hurdles
5:40PM Women’s 60m Hurdles
5:50PM Men’s One Mile Run
6:10PM Women’s One Mile Run
6:30PM Men’s 60m Dash
6:50PM Women’s 60m Dash
7:10PM Men’s 500m Dash
7:25PM Women’s 500m Dash
7:35PM Men’s 400m Dash
7:55PM Women’s 400m Dash
8:15PM Men’s 1000m Run
8:35PM Women’s 1000m Run
9:00PM Men’s 200m Dash
9:20PM Women’s 200m Dash
9:40PM Men’s 4x800m Relay
9:50PM Women’s 4x800m Relay
10:00PM Men’s 4x400m Relay
10:20PM Women’s 4x400m Relay
Written by CJ McCollum ‘13