After breaking records all season, the Lehigh track and field teams have just one more goal to accomplish: winning the Patriot League Championships.
Senior Lucas Warning, a native of nearby Mertztown, Pennsylvania, is looking to be the two-time outdoor shot put champion. Last spring, Warning was crowned the Patriot League Champion with a distance of 17.46 meters. Following the Patriot League Championships, Warning qualified for the NCAA Championships and placed 25th overall.
However, Warning said his Patriot League Championship performance isn’t his greatest accomplishment here at Lehigh. Instead, the senior cited breaking the 44-year-old school record for the indoor shot put at 17.62 meters.
Warning said part of what helps his success is putting in the time.
“Being dedicated at every practice and knowing that every rep is important is what gets you there,” Warning said. “Going into the championships, I’m just trying to stay healthy and let the cards fall into place. I know that I can throw far, but I need to get there to do that.”
Another former Patriot League Champion, junior Hannah Leskow, also broke a school record last year. Leskow is from Toms River, New Jersey, and is one of the top mid-distance runners on the team. In the distance medley relay, her team set a record of 11:52.76, earning it the championship title for the event as well as breaking both the Patriot League and Lehigh record.
Brian Arita, a sophomore distance runner from Newtown, Pennsylvania, said over the past few years, he has noticed a shift in team values.
“The team culture has become more about winning championships,” he said. “In the last year, practice has gotten more serious, and the captains have taken the intensity up to a whole new level.”
Arita said the home-track advantage will really help the team, specifically by allowing it more rest, a greater fan base and allowing it to use the equipment it uses every day. Arita hopes to earn the team points in the 5K and 10K events.
Sophomore Clare Severe, a mid-distance runner from Bethesda, Maryland, agreed with Arita that both the team and the league have gotten more competitive over the past few years.
“I think our team culture has shifted a lot over the past year toward where we want it to go,” Severe said. “For the most part, everybody is focused and really wants to improve and compete to the best of their abilities.”
The track events will kick off the championship weekend beginning at 9 a.m. Friday at Goodman Campus with the decathlon, heptathlon and men’s 10K race.