Mental toughness, positive attitudes and undivided focus.
This mentality is what the Lehigh women’s track and field team concentrated in order on to secure its third place finish at the Patriot League Indoor Championships.
And it paid off.
Not only did the team finish third place, but many players tied and broke school records. Freshman Katie Toman tied the school record in the pole vault to place third overall. Junior Courtney Avery broke her own school record and set a new Patriot League record in the high jump, winning her event with a 1.81-meter leap. Avery also received the award for the league’s Outstanding Female Field Athlete of the meet.
“Going into this meet with a positive attitude was big for us, and I think that was a big part of our success,” Avery said. “We had so many personal records broken over the weekend, and it created a really great energy that everyone continued to feed off of, which also contributed to our success.”
The distance medley relay team of junior Marissa Karl and sophomores Rachel Okun, Hannah Leskow and Tyler Scanlin won and set a new Patriot League record. The 4×800 team consisting of Karl, Scanlin, and freshmen Maura Henderson and Clare Severe broke the school and Patriot League record.
Overall, the team had three individual champions, broke three Patriot League Championship records and set four school records at the meet.
Since Lehigh pushed back the start of school by a week due to snow, the team had an extra week of its winter preseason camp, which gave the athletes a chance to not only work hard physically but to come together as a team. It participated in leadership meetings and had a lot of time to practice and self-reflect, which junior Brenna Clark said helped the Hawks realize the potential they have if they work together.
The mentality going into the meet was serious and focused. Although the team was physically prepared to compete, Avery said coaches stressed the importance of mental skills and techniques to win.
“We believed in ourselves more than we ever had in past years,” Clark said. “The mentality was very positive. Winter camp set a precedent for a great season, and we realized that if we believed and worked together, we could make something special happen.”
Clark said not only did the individual accomplishments of some players contribute to the team’s success, but its dynamic as a whole is what created a positive energy across the board to excel. The performances of these athletes created a contagious energy that spread throughout the team.
The Mountain Hawks are proud of their indoor accomplishments, but they are eager to compete outdoors. The team has set its goal as nothing less than an overall win.
“We now know what we’re up against and the marks that other teams are capable of putting up,” said senior Gabrielle Wardle, who received Second Team All-League honors at the meet. “We have to come in with the same mental toughness as we did in the indoor meet, but this time we need even more of a championship mentality.”