BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Following a stellar athletics season, Lehigh has finished 32nd in the final Capital One Cup Men’s Standings. The Mountain Hawks garnered 24 points due to three top-10 finishes (football, wrestling and men’s lacrosse). Lehigh finished ahead of numerous power schools including Michigan, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Michigan State and much more.
The Capital One Cup winners were honored at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards; Florida won the Men’s Cup while Stanford took home the Women’s. Colgate and Army were the only other Patriot League schools to earn points on the men’s side. They finished 62nd and 78th, respectively.
The football team finished fifth in the final FCS Top-25 Coaches Poll following a stellar 11-2 season. The two-time reigning Patriot League Champion defeated CAA Champ Towson in the NCAA Playoffs, 40-38, in a game to remember. After falling to New Hampshire in their home opener, the Mountain Hawks promptly responded with a 10-game winning streak, scoring 30 or more points in eight of those games. Wide receiver Ryan Spadola, who was named a Walter Payton Award candidate on Thursday, headlines a strong returning cast in 2012. He caught a school-record 96 passes for a Lehigh and Patriot League record 1,614 yards, falling just 98 yards shy of the FCS mark.
Wrestling capped off another strong season with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. Lehigh posted 61 points for its second-straight top 10 finish. Four All-Americans were crowned as Brandon Hatchett and Zach Rey wrestled in their respective finals (165 pounds and heavyweight, respectively) while Robert Hamilton (184) came in fourth and Joe Kennedy eighth (195). The four All-Americans were the most since the Mountain Hawks had five in 2004.
Men’s lacrosse burst onto the national scene in going 14-3, winning its first-ever Patriot League Tournament Title and advancing to its first NCAA Tournament. The Mountain Hawks played host to perennial power Maryland, eventually dropping a hard-fought 10-9 final in front of a facility-record 2,278 fans. After a tough 17-7 loss to Villanova in its home opener, Lehigh responded much like football did in the fall. The squad went on to win nine straight games, highlighted by a 9-8 thriller over #4 nationally-ranked North Carolina. The Mountain Hawks were ranked as high as fourth in the nation themselves and stood #9 in the final Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.
This is the second year of the Capital One Cup. Schools earn points based on their teams’ top-10 finishes in NCAA Division I championships and in final official coaches’ polls across 19 men’s and 20 women’s sports as they compete to win the Capital One Cup trophy and a combined $400,000 to fund scholarships for student athletes.
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