Despite inclement weather, the Lehigh women’s and men’s cross country teams battled for second and fifth place finishes, respectively, in the 2018 Patriot League championships, held at Bucknell University on Oct. 27.
Women’s XC finishes second overall behind Bucknell
Junior runner Diana Hammerstone led the women’s team with 22 total points and an eighth-place overall individual finish. She said that the weather elements catalyzed a stronger effort from the team.
“I think (the weather) gave us a little extra confidence as a team because we knew we could be the toughest girls out there,” Hammerstone said. “We knew the course conditions were going to be bad and just accepted that fact before we got there.”
Hammerstone, along with freshmen Jamie Zamrin and Nicole Abbondandelo, were all named to the second team all-Patriot League. The two freshmen finished 12th and 14th, respectively.
Zamrin and Abbondandelo comprise a strong underclassmen base on the women’s team. Indicating a promising future for the women’s team, all four freshmen runners finished in the team’s top seven.
Hammerstone was satisfied with the team’s effort.
“I think every single one of us gave everything we had today, and I couldn’t be more proud,” she said. “(Zamrin and Abbondandelo) were all-Patriot League finishers today, which is an outstanding accomplishment especially for their first Patriot League competition. They ran incredibly tough and confident.”
The second-place finish matched the best finish for the women’s team in the Patriot League Championships since they placed in the same spot in 2016.
Head Coach Debbie Utesch commended her team’s performance against host team and eventual winners, Bucknell University.
Men’s XC finishes fifth overall
The men’s team finished fifth overall, led by sophomore Sean Brown’s 17th place finish in the 8K race.
Head Coach Todd Etters said that his team did not meet its own expectations, in spite of an improvement on last year’s sixth-place effort.
“We didn’t race at the level that we wanted to,” Etters said. “We need to be accountable for our performance and not make excuses. I need to do a better job of getting the team prepared for the level of competition that comes with a championship race and the team needs to trust in themselves and each other.
On a positive note, Etters said he was impressed by Brown’s performance.
“He’s only a sophomore, yet he’s shown already in his career that he’s at his best when it counts the most,” Etters said.
Brown, who has been coping with a minor hip injury, said that he he trusted his preparation for the championship.
“I’ve really just been going one day at a time,” Brown said. “I think (my hip) helped me stay distracted from the conditions because I was glad I could just be out there.”
Brown believes that the team can learn from their performance.
“As a whole we definitely hoped we could do much better, but today we just didn’t all put it together,” Brown said. “We still have Regionals to step up and make this season into something great. We really just need to have short memories for whoever didn’t have a good day today… we have the ability to do something special there.”