Sophomore sprinter Amanda Fischer prepares to start the women's 200 meter race on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the Lehigh Games. Fischer finished 19th among the 40 overall competitors. (Shiyue Shao/B&W Staff)

Courtney Avery leads Lehigh track team, wins event at Penn Relays

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This weekend, the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in both the Penn Relays and the Lehigh Games, highlighted by a win in the High Jump Championship of America event by junior Courtney Avery.

It was the first time in school history a Lehigh female athlete won a Championship of America event.

“Winning Penn Relays is kind of absurd, and it was great for our program,” junior Sarah Cassidy said.

Penn Relays is one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious meets in the country, and sophomore distance runner Hannah Leskow said the team was excited to go to the meet and compete against some of the best track and field athletes in the country. With the Patriot League Championship meet a week away, the track and field team used the Penn Relays to build its confidence.

At the meet, Hannah Leskow said they found that Lehigh’s athlete could compete with and beat some of the best track starts in the country, such as Georgetown University.

“My distance medley relay qualified for the Championship of America heat,” Leskow said. “It was nerve-wracking, but also an incredible opportunity to be running with those girls right before the Patriot League Championships.”

But while some of the team was at the Penn Relays, the rest of them were competing in the Lehigh Games.

Freshman Noreen Byrne finished second in the 400 hurdles with a personal best of 1:03.81. Another freshman, Tyler Bannister, had an outdoor personal best in the pole-vault with 10 feet and 5.5 inches, and freshman Katie Toman got second with 10 feet and 11.5 inches.

In the 800 meter, junior Melissa Karl placed second and improved her time to 2:14. Her teammates Hanna Brosky, Laura Barnes, Stephanie Hayes and Hannah Leskow finished right behind her.

Lastly, Ashley Strysko won the 5K, and Katie Hatler finished second in hurdles. She is ranked third in the conference.

The women are ranked third in the conference. While both Bucknell University and Boston University will serve as stiff competition, Lehigh is still aiming to bring home the Patriot League trophy.

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