After Lehigh track and field freshman Zach DeLone was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Jan. 21, his success continued against rival Lafayette on Jan. 25.
DeLone placed first in the 60-meter and 200-meter sprints with respective times of 7.06 seconds and 22.28 seconds.
His impressive scores helped his team beat Lehigh’s arch rival, and his times have continued to improve during each competition. The Mountain Hawks pulled ahead near the end to defeat the Leopards with a final score of 99-79.
Although it was DeLone’s first meet against Lafayette, he was happy to experience such an exciting win as a freshman.
“It always feels good to beat Lafayette, especially hearing how big the rivalry is between us and them,” DeLone said.
A native of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, DeLone impressed early on in the season during the team’s first competition, Fast Times Before Finals, at Rauch Fieldhouse. He placed first in the 60-meter with a time of 6.99 seconds. He finished the 200-meter in 22.48 seconds, putting him in second place.
The freshman’s success continued at the UPenn 8 Team Select in Staten Island, where DeLone finished the 60-meter in 6.69 seconds and the 200-meter in 21.99 seconds. Both of his times placed him in third place. His 200-meter time qualified him for the IC4A’s and moved him to third in Lehigh’s track and field history. His 60-meter time is tied for the sixth in the Patriot League this season.
“I was definitely surprised when my coach told me I won the award, but I was honored to be recognized by the Patriot League,” DeLone said.
Although he has already accomplished so much as a freshman, he has great aspirations for himself. DeLone’s goal is to set the school record for the 200-meter. The time to beat is 21.73 seconds.
DeLone hopes his individual achievements will help win the Patriot League and gain more recognition for the team.
Junior jumper Matt Solomon described DeLone as a fun guy to be around, but also a hard worker. Solomon said DeLone is good at keeping the mood light, especially during hard workouts.
“His success so far has been great for the team,” Solomon said. “In the sprinter group specifically, it has increased the competitiveness in our team. Everybody is always trying to be No. 1, and that’s what makes us faster.”
Junior sprinter Samuel Tapera echoed Solomon’s sentiments and said DeLone’s success has influenced the attitude of the other sprinters on the team. He said everyone is hungry to be better.
Tapera did emphasize, however, DeLone’s ability to stay loose while maintaining his work ethic during practices and workouts.
“Zach (DeLone) enjoys having fun, and it shows during our practices,” Tapera said. “There’s never a dull moment with Zach (DeLone), and he manages to keep his enthusiasm even during tough workouts.”
Although it can be difficult for student athletes to balance school work and sports, DeLone said he has loved his experience so far at Lehigh. He said sprinting is rewarding, and the structure keeps him focused.
DeLone has a chance for more victories in the upcoming competitions leading up to the Patriot League Championship, including the UAlbany Winter Classic in Staten Island on Feb. 7.