Abigail Klebe(left), '26, of Lehigh's women track and field team. Klebe's position on the team is sprints as well as middle distance. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Lehigh track and field tears up record books with six new additions


From jumpers to sprinters to distance runners, Lehigh track and field has seen some of its best performances this indoor season.

Over the past two months, the team has competed in eight regular season meets across Pennsylvania and New York. During which, four athletes broke six school records.

One all-time record was set by first-year pole vaulter Laura Reigle, who became the first Lehigh woman to vault four meters when she broke her school record at the Lafayette Duel on Jan. 28. 

Junior sprinter Ashley Struck set two all-time records in the past two weeks. She recorded the all-time best women’s indoor 400-meter time at the Big Apple Invitational on Feb. 11 with a time of 56.67 seconds. She broke the Lehigh women’s indoor 200-meter record with a time of 25.00 seconds hours later. 

Senior distance runner Kerem Ayhan set the indoor 1,000-meter record during the Villanova Invitational on Jan. 21. Ayhan beat the record set by Kyle Burke, ‘22, by two-tenths of a second after recovering from a meniscus injury that set him out of the spring track season.

The remaining all-time records belong to senior distance runner Connor Melko. He set the Lehigh indoor 3,000-meter record with a time of eight minutes and 11 seconds on Feb. 4 at the Scarlet Knight Open. Melko also reached the record books in the mile event, where his time of four minutes and eight seconds moved him up to fifth in the all-time leaderboards.

“It means a lot,” Melko said. “(I’ve) definitely been working hard towards it.”

Other athletes are on the cusp of breaking records.

Like Struck and Melko, sophomore thrower Liam Lovering was able to reach top five all-time marks in two different events in the past month. Lovering’s weight throw of 17.45 meters places him third all-time in Mountain Hawk history, while his shot put throw of 16.62 meters places him fourth. 

Although these are Lovering’s best marks in college, he sees them as just the beginning. 

“It’s cool to see the numbers go up, just to have those stepping stones,” Lovering said. “I’m gonna get there.”

Sophomore high jumper Skyler Mott broke the top 10 list by recording the sixth best indoor high jump in school history with a height of 2.04 meters at the Scarlet Knight Invitational on Feb. 3. 

Mott didn’t plan to jump at the collegiate level, but he walked onto the team when he arrived at Lehigh after only one year of high school competition.

“I was never expected to be anything,” Mott said. “To see that I am the sixth best ever to do it is really, really cool. It just shows that the work we put in every day is starting to pay off.”

The athletes cite an array of reasons for their success, including off-season work, energy at the meets and time spent practicing. Two reasons resonated with all of the record-setting athletes: coaches’ guidance and intersquad competition.

Underclassmen Lovering and Mott said the coaching they’ve received at Lehigh compared to high school has elevated their performance, allowing them to achieve these all-time marks. 

“In track in high school you usually get a football coach as the throwing coach who doesn’t really know what’s going on,” Lovering said. “99% of my advancement has to go to Allison (Taub, assistant track and field coach).”

As for intersquad competition, the upperclassmen credit their teammates’ constant encouragement for getting them to where they are today.

Senior hurdler and sprinter Ashley Griesmeyer, who became fourth all-time in Lehigh women’s indoor 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.76 seconds, said her team’s support has allowed her to be her best.

“I like to say iron sharpens iron,” Griesmeyer said. “(My teammates) are always personally pushing me to become better. It’s really nice to see the team grow.”

After all these records, the most crucial part of the season is yet to come.

The team will compete in The Patriot League championships on Feb. 25 and 26, where they will have an opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships on March 10 and 11. 

“Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into future meets and into championships,” Mott said. “I’m not yet satisfied.”


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