BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The storied rivalry of Lehigh-Lafayette will rekindle inside Rauch Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks host the Leopards in the annual Lehigh-Lafayette dual meet beginning at 2 p.m. Lehigh is coming off a third place finish at the Angry Birds meet, held last Saturday inside Rauch Fieldhouse.
Lehigh scored 137 points en route to the third place finish, highlighted by a Patriot League-best toss of 17.95 meters in the weight throw by senior E’Lana Lemon. That throw earned her a second straight Patriot League Female Field Athlete of the Week award, her third of the season and 11th of her career as a Mountain Hawk.
Also netting a victory was senior Lauren Pietrosh in the 800 meter run, crossing the line in 2:17.93, just ahead of fellow senior Julia Perry (2:18.17) who earned a second place finish. The Mountain Hawks also posted multiple top five finishes on the day, including junior Danielle Albergo’s second place finish in the 400 meter dash with a time of 58.55, one of three runners in the 14-women field to clock in under a minute.
The Mountain Hawks will now turn their attention to crosstown rival Lafayette for Saturday’s dual meet, one of just four meets remaining until the Patriot League Championships which are set to kick-off in less than a month (February 15). Lehigh trails in the all-time series against Lafayette 6-15-1 in dual meets, but will be looking to improve that record this weekend.
"It’s just a tough week all the way around, but when we’re done and have both trophies we’ll be relieved," said Lehigh head coach Matt Utesch. "In the big picture, we’re looking for great seed times. This is going to be challenging because both teams are going to be running really fast. They’re going to bring it because this weekend is going to be a three hour dogfight."
This meet will bring out the adrenaline and intensity of the Lehigh athletes as they prepare to match up against the long-time rival Leopards. The Mountain Hawks will need to channel that energy into results on the board as the Patriot League Championships loom just a few short weeks away.
"This is the weekend that will be a really good indicator for the Patriot League Championships," said Utesch. "This is the peak of competition at this point of the year and everybody is amped up. There is a lot riding on this weekend."
That adrenaline has been handled in the past and translated into results, and this year Utesch is expecting the same.
"I think we use our adrenaline really well," said Utesch. "That extra adrenaline is how, we as humans, determine fight or flight and traditionally we have fought. We manage our adrenaline well and this is what the kids have waited for."
After Saturday’s meet, the Mountain Hawks will travel to compete at the New Balance Championships on February 1 before taking to the track on February 2 for the John Covert Classic inside Rauch Fieldhouse beginning at 10 a.m.