Sophomore Wil Jaques throws shot put on Feb. 25, at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center. Jaques placed 12th in the event behind Junior Liam Lovering (seventh), and sophomore Joe Nowakowski (11th) (Connor Malinger/B&W Staff).

Student-athletes combat three seasons of sports


Collegiate sports seasons come and go, but the Lehigh men’s and women’s track and field teams are always on the clock. With both an indoor and outdoor season, the team competes year-round and constantly prepares for upcoming meets.

First-year thrower Andrew Clark is no stranger to balancing three sports seasons. His high school athletic career in Southbury, Connecticut, consisted of track, basketball and lacrosse. As a new face on the team, Clark adjusted to the extensive track season by maintaining physical fitness during and between seasons. 

“Much of it is stretching and ensuring you are being proactive,” Clark said. “We have compression boots, ice baths and contrast baths. In hopes of not missing a season, I try everything possible to feel in my healthiest physical shape.”

While Clark prioritizes physical health, junior distance runner Lauryn Heskin said she focuses on mental stability from season to season. 

Heskin says her greatest difficulty as a three-season student-athlete is balancing academics and athletics. 

“It’s definitely overwhelming sometimes,” Heskin said. “Especially since at the end of the indoor season, our Patriot League Championship is always right before exams. Luckily the track team offers so many resources that help with that transition so that they are making sure you are staying on top of your academic performance.”

Still, senior distance runner Abigail Tenreiro said the over-achieving attitude within the team allows many of the athletes to perform well off the field.

“Cross-country athletes tend to be overachievers,” Tenreiro said. “We run the longest events and somehow find enjoyment in that. In the classroom, a lot of us are also high achievers. Our team GPA was very high.”

New seasons bring different focuses for the team. Indoor track, outdoor track, and cross country require similar skill sets, yet different types of rigorous training and individualized attention. 

Clark said he picks up three more events for the outdoor season opposed to the indoor season, which can be mentally straining. 

By participating in such a sport for three seasons, these athletes face an increased risk of injuries. For a long, grueling season, the same injuries have the potential to overlap and hinder the runner’s progress. 

Ankle injuries are most common, requiring different rest periods depending on their severity. Given the quick turnaround time between seasons, little recovery time is allotted for athletes.

Heskin said the team’s medical staff puts athletes in the best spot to succeed.

“Since freshman year, I have been injured the entire time,” Heskin said. “The short time in between seasons is hard. For example, I ended the indoor season injured, and then you have to start right back up again. So, physically, it’s hard. But the sports medicine trainers that we have are really useful.”

Summer provides the only true athletic break for track athletes. Without any real break in the school year, the athletes constantly work to maintain physical and mental endurance. 

“There are definitely those days when you have too much on your plate, and you know that there’s no way to get everything done,” Tenreiro said. “So I always prioritize sleep; I have teammates who prioritize academics. It’s really just personal what you choose to prioritize.”

Dan Malatesta, ’26, leads off the 4x800m at the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championship, Feb. 24, at the Boston University-Track & Tennis Center. Thomas Smigo (’27), Danny Walter (’27), and Alex Heidemann (’26) set a school record in the event (7:33.48), placing 4th (Connor Malinger/B&W Staff).

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