Freshman thrower Amanda Youngblood practices throwing the discus in preparation for the upcoming meets. The track and field team will be participating in three meets in the upcoming weekend. (Lillie Zakin/B&W photo)

Track prepares for busy weekend ahead


With an action-packed weekend ahead, Lehigh’s track team will be split among three different events.

The team will have various athletes competing in the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina, the Winthrop Invitational in South Carolina and the Lafayette 7-way.

The Winthrop Invitational begins March 26 and ends March 28, while the Raleigh Relays and the Lafayette 7-way will both take place March 28.

“The combined event athletes will be down south and the rest of the team will be at Lafayette,” coach Matt Utesch said. “We have a complete team and will be competing in all the events offered at the meets.”

Senior Ryan Mahalsky is one member of the team who will be traveling to the Raleigh Relays to race the 10,000-meter, following his first place finish in the 5,000-meter at the IC4A Championships at Boston University on March 8. Senior Lou Adesida and senior Shannon Wright will also be going to North Carolina to compete in the high jump and 5,000-meter events, respectively.

The Winthrop participants include freshman Trevor Knowles who will be competing in his first decathlon along with senior Natalie Bates and junior Elly Wardle in the heptathlon.

Knowles said he is a little nervous for his first major event.

“The 2-day Decathlon can be pretty grueling and intimidating,” he said.

As for the veterans, Bates and Wardle are relaxed. With a few years of experience under their belts, they do not see this meet as a “make or break” situation for the team.

“Winthrop is one of the few meets in which there isn’t a lot of pressure to get certain scores,” Wardle said. “It is more of an opportunity to see where we stand so we know which areas need more attention.”

The Mountain Hawks also look forward to escaping Bethlehem’s current cold climate. With weather forecasts of 60 degrees and sunny during the Mountain Hawks’ stay, Rock Hill, South Carolina affords favorable conditions for the team’s first outdoor meet of the year.

“This is the nicest weather we may get all season, so we should take advantage of it and try to get good marks,” Bates said.

Meanwhile, senior captain Justin Mahoney will lead the rest of the team heading to Easton to compete in the Lafayette 7-way.

Mahoney, competing in the 200 and 400-meter races, said he has high hopes for himself and his team. He aims to be in the low 22s for the 200 and the low 49s for the 400 in his upcoming races. Mahoney said he is determined to achieve success and is focused on the team’s end result.

“Every meet is important when you only have a total of six weeks before championships,” Mahoney said. “Outdoor is a very quick season, and we must take every meet as serious as we would the Patriot League Championships.”

Assistant Coach Brooke Astor said the team still has work to do, stressing a focus on conditioning and technique.

“We can’t expect to see everyone set personal records at Winthrop, Raleigh and Lafayette, but we do expect that each athlete takes what they are learning in practice and use it during the meet,” Astor said.

Overall, Astor said she is confident that the Mountain Hawks will perform on the outside track in a fashion that reflects all the hard work they’ve dedicated thus far.

“These meets will set the tone for the rest of the season,” Astor said. “I am confident that the team is ready to improve on the success that they had during the indoor season.”

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