The Lehigh women's track team poses after the first day of the indoor Patriot League Championships on Feb. 26 at Bucknell. The women's 4x800 relay won gold in the championship. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Women’s track wraps up indoor season


The Lehigh women’s track and field team competed in the 2022 Patriot League Championships at Bucknell University on Feb. 26 and 27, finishing in fifth place. 

The Mountain Hawks earned a total of 60 points — first place Navy finished with 202. 

Competing in her first Patriot League Championship, freshman Melissa Cunninghan managed to break not one, but two of her own school records as she captured bronze in the 60m dash with a time of 7.72 and seventh place in the 200m dash with a time of 25.31.

Cunningham said these two achievements were unexpected, since she was coming off a meniscus injury and wasn’t sure if she could compete to begin with.

Freshman Melissa Cunningham, right, practices in the Philip Rauch Fieldhouse, on Feb. 7. Cunningham broke two of her own school records at the Patriot League Championships. (Xiang Fan/B&W staff)

“Probably three days before (the) PLCs (Patriot League Championships), I was told I was running and I went into panic mode,” Cunningham said. “They told me to just give it my all, so I showed up, tried to warm up the best that I could and just tried to bring back prior knowledge and perform based off of my old training.”

Distance medley runners sophomore Christina Yakaboski, senior Kaja Skerlj, freshman Amanda Mircovich and senior Hetty McMillan placed second with a time of 11:44.351, just over a second behind first place Navy.

Like Cunningham, Mircovich was making her first PLC appearance and was also coming off an injury.

Mircovich said she was really proud and excited to have achieved a new personal record in the medley alongside her teammates.

“My biggest takeaway was that things just take time,” Mircovich said. “You’re bound to get hurt at some point, but the important thing is to just keep going.”

Mircovich and Cunningham both said they credit their performances to confidence and an understanding that if they went into the meet with their heads down due to their previous injuries, they wouldn’t have performed as well as they did.

They added that a big part of this confidence came from their senior leaders, who not only led the team but won gold medals for it as well.

Seniors McMillan, Kara Bonner, Julia Dorley  and Jade Sessions captured Lehigh’s sole gold medal of the meet in the 4×800 relay with a time of 8:48.80.

“The seniors are such good role models, great runners, great people and were really the best seniors a freshman could have,” Mircovich said.

In addition to their relay performances, Bonner placed seventh in the one mile run at 4:55.27 and Dorley placed fifth in the 800 meter run at 2:13.61, one place behind Sessions, who finished at 2:12.82.

Assistant coach Brooke Astor said having senior leaders who can take the punches as they come, and more specifically who are able to adjust to the mayhem of the outdoor season, has been and is going to be a big factor in the team’s ultimate success.

Junior Calista Marzolino captured a bronze medal for the Mountain Hawks with her high jump performance, reaching 1.70m and freshman Casey Talamini-Kelemen added one more with her third place finish in the triple jump at 11.83m.

After the championships, the team took about two weeks off from intense training to mentally and physically rest, but still incorporated a bit of light running, swimming and biking to stay active. After the two weeks, the team will begin to ramp up training for the outdoor track season.

“It’s actually a very odd time, because you go from a very high emotional meet and pour everything you have into the PLCs, and then are just kind of done for (a while),” Astor said. “A lot of it is taking that emotional rollercoaster they were on over the weekend and allowing them to decompress before we get back into it.”

Talamini-Kelemen said as they return to training, they are focusing on strength speed training and becoming more detail-oriented to master their individual techniques.

“To have that success in the indoor season, it has us going into the outdoor season saying, ‘What else can we accomplish?’” Astor said. “We have a good mentality, we are healthy and we are ready to get after it.”

The team will compete in its first outside meet at the Penn Challenge on March 19 in Philadelphia. 

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