The Lehigh women’s track and field team has won five straight outdoor dual-meets against Lafayette. Its last loss on the outdoor track against Lafayette came in April of 2015.
The Mountain Hawks claimed 14 out of the 19 events on the outdoor track on April 2, beating their rival 124-76. Lehigh also set 16 personal records against Lafayette: 10 from the track and 10 from the field.
Freshman Melissa Cunningham was named women’s track athlete of the meet. She said running in her first outdoor Lafayette dual-meet gave her a greater appreciation for the rivalry and how the meet differs from invitationals.
“I see how important it is to Lehigh and the Lehigh culture,” Cunningham said. “I also think it’s a really important aspect of our team because it really brings everyone together. During other meets, it’s a little more individualized because everyone’s doing their own event, but for Le-Laf, you’re really cheering on every event group.”
Cunningham competed on the outdoor track during the meet after being sidelined due to injury since the indoor Patriot League Championships in February.
In the dual, she set a personal record of 25.40 in the 200m dash and finished in first for the Mountain Hawks. She also placed first in the 100m dash with a time of 12.33.
Cunningham also participated in the 4×400 relay, an event she had never done before.
“It wasn’t my first relay because I ran the 4×100 before, but running the 400 in general, it was my first time,” Cunningham said. “It was really exciting working with the upperclassmen.”
In addition to Cunningham, Lehigh’s 4x400m relay team includes sophomore Ashley Struck, senior Camari Griffin and graduate student Kaja Skerlj. They finished in first with a time of 4:00.50.
Senior Teasha McKoy was named women’s field athlete of the meet.
McKoy finished in first both in discus with a mark of 45.36m and the hammer throw with a mark of 50.36m. She also had a second-place finish in shot put with a mark of 11.66m.
McKoy said the Lafayette dual is competitive, but also an enjoyable way to grow relationships with teammates and competitors.
“We know each other by first names,” McKoy said. “We enjoy each other’s company for the most part. So, yeah, it’s about friendship too.”
For many Mountain Hawks and Leopards, this meet was their last rivalry dual in their collegiate track and field careers. This was the case for Skerlj.
Skerlj finished first in the 400m hurdles with a time of 1:06.06 and was also part of the first-place team in the 4x400m relay.
“I didn’t think too much about it being my last,” Skerlj said. “But it was definitely the sweetest because it was one of the biggest margins we produced.”
Skerlj said since she endured COVID-19-related challenges with the team, she appreciates this year much more.
“A lot of times we look at the negatives post-COVID-19, but actually there’s a lot of positives in the overall work ethic, and now we cherish the time we have on the tracks,” Skerlj said.
The Mountain Hawks will travel across the bridge to Moravian University to compete in the Coach P Invitational on April 22 and 23.