Both Lehigh cross country teams competed on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at Colgate University in the Patriot League Championships. The men’s team placed fourth out of nine, and the women’s team placed fifth out of ten. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Lehigh cross country boasts strong individual showings at PLC

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After strong individual performances in the Patriot League Championships, the men’s and women’s cross country teams have their sights set on the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships.

Both teams fell in the middle of the pack at Colgate on Saturday—the men’s squad placed fourth out of nine, and the women’s team came in fifth out of 10—but each team boasted stellar individual performances. Both senior Diana Hammerstone and junior Seth Slavin received All-Patriot League Second Team honors, with times of 22:20.0 and 25:59.60, respectively.

Men’s coach Todd Etters said Slavin’s consistent hard work and commitment to improvement made him a deserving recipient of the honor.

“(Slavin) has always had a laser focus and a really elite work ethic,” Etters said. “It is great to see all of that paying off for him, and full credit to him for really staying confident and tweaking his race plans. He is also lucky to have a lot of tremendous classmates charging right alongside him.”

For the women, other notable performers included junior Susie Poore, who finished 15th overall with a time of 22:40.0, and sophomore Jade Sessions, who finished 21st among all runners with a time of 22:51.60. For the men, junior Sean Brown finished 15th overall with a time of 25:59.60, and junior Brad DeMassa finished 17th with a time of 26:12.60. 

“One of the things that I think went really well for our team is that our main pack in the front did really well. We pulled each other along,” DeMassa said. “Shoutout to Sean Brown and Nick Norton. They came along with me, and that helped the pack really stick together and lower the team score by a lot.”

Army’s point total was 37 points, and the Lehigh men’s final point total was 97, which proved to be enough to clinch first place. Boston University came out on top on the women’s end, totaling 52 points compared to Lehigh’s 107. The Lehigh men also placed four runners in the top 20 of the meet, and the women placed two. 

While the Mountain Hawks may not have reached the goals it was striving for, there is certainly a sense of excitement for the final two meets and for next season.

“We’re already licking our chops, saying we want that trophy next year,” Slavin said. “We want to win a Patriot League title next year.”

Slavin said if the current seniors from all the competitors at the Patriot League were removed, including their own, Lehigh would have won the meet. He said with a core of underclassmen talent, the team is expecting a promising upcoming season.

The women’s team is looking forward to a strong and tenured roster this upcoming season, as 17 of the team’s members will return, with only four graduating seniors. 

Before looking ahead, however, both teams have their sights set on the upcoming NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships on Nov. 15, and the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 23. The men’s and the women’s teams will host the regional meet at the Goodman Campus Cross Country Course. 

“We need to keep our foot on the gas and stay focused for two more weeks,” Etters said. “It is an advantage to be hosting the race, and if we can match our focus and toughness from the Patriot League Championships to the regional meet, I am confident that we will finish the season strong.”

The Regional Championships will prove to be a turning point for two teams, which are competing hard in the Patriot League. 

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