The Pocono Raceway Disc Golf Experience


A few weeks ago, one of my good friends named Matt, who’s nicknamed “Chaw” for reasons we’re not going to delve into, asked me to accompany him to a disc golf tournament at the Pocono Raceway. Now, I know what you’re thinking- “Disc Golf? What even is that?” It’s the question that I usually receive when I tell people that I play disc golf, often followed by “how does someone get into that?”

Well, disc golf is a sport that’s very similar to golf (hence the name), except instead of hitting a ball towards a hole, you’re throwing a frisbee, called a disc, towards a basket. It’s played on a course that usually consists of 18 baskets, and the objective of the game is to get the disc into the basket in as few throws, or strokes, as possible. Disc golf is currently a small sport, but it’s growing quickly in the United States because it’s extremely beginner friendly and inexpensive, which is partly what drew me to the game.

I discovered disc golf very much on accident, but I’m fortunate to have done so. My good friend Jeremy and I quickly became bored last autumn as the temperature dropped and the leaves began to fall, forcing most activity indoors. After having reminisced with each other about playing street hockey in the winter with our friends when we were younger, we decided to head to Dick’s Sporting Goods in search of street hockey skates. Unfortunately, after taking several discouraging laps around the store without seeing any sign of what we were looking for, it became clear to us that we had come to the wrong place. As we woefully turned to exit the store, we suddenly noticed the wall of disc golf discs that was right next to us. We had previously heard about disc golf from a mutual friend, and we knew that a disc golf course, South Mountain, was only a five minute drive away from Lehigh’s campus, so we decided to check out the rack. After about an hour of ooh-ing and aah-ing, we each exited the store with three discs- a driver, a mid-range, and a putter- for only $30 (it’s free to play the courses). The very next day we were out on the course chucking our new discs. From that day until now, roughly a year later, we still play disc golf four or five times a week on average.

Which brings me back to my most recent disc golf experience and the original point of my story…

My friend Chaw had been nagging me for a while to register for MrDiscGolf’s Pocono Raceway Disc Golf Experience, which took place this past weekend on Sunday, September 25th. I refused for quite some time as I had an exam the following day and I thought the $45 entrance fee was expensive, but my obsession with disc golf took over and I finally agreed to go just a few hours before the event took place. This impulse decision turned out to be a great one, as it was one of the best days I’ve had in a while.

I woke up around noon on Sunday, still groggy from the activities of the night before, to the annoying but familiar beeping of a FaceTime call. Instinctively, I answered the call, still half asleep, and realized that it was Jeremy on the phone. He informed me that Chaw had convinced him to go to the tournament, and that they were trying to leave in 30 minutes. Without thinking, I shot out of my bed and ran into the shower. After a quick rinse, I threw on some clothes and was ready for the hour long journey to the great Pocono Raceway (a NASCAR raceway with only 3 turns, earning it the nickname The Tricky Triangle).


Jeremy, Chaw, our other friend named Matt, and I embarked towards the Nascar raceway in the most appropriate way we could think of- in Jeremy’s bright yellow mustang.


After a quick but very necessary detour to Wawa for some food (I got a buffalo chicken cheesesteak-yum), we finally reached our destination. The raceway was an absolutely gigantic structure that was way larger that I was expecting it to be. It took us several minutes just to drive around the raceway and find the entrance. We parked and walked inside to discover the over 300 disc golfers that showed up to enjoy such a unique event. Fighting through the crowd, we made it to the registration desk where we checked in and received our tee-time of 2:30pm. This gave us just under an hour to kill, so we practiced putting for a little before retiring to the concession stand for some drinks.

Our tee-time rolled around soon enough, and we were finally able to begin playing the course. The first five holes were long, open shots located directly on the race track. It was cool to see the skid marks and tire tracks on the raceway as we played. The sixth hole forced us to shoot through a narrow gate that led us outside of the track to the Pocono Raceway’s solar farm, which is the largest renewable energy project at any sports venue in the world. After playing a few holes alongside the solar farm, we found ourselves throwing a narrow tunnel shot under the bleachers before taking an elevator up into the bleachers and playing another hole there. Before we knew it, we had made it to the final hole where we got to throw from on top of the flagman’s stand, across the finish line, and onto the victory podium.


It wasn’t my most well-played round of disc golf, but it was a great experience even for someone like me who doesn’t follow Nascar. Disc golf is usually played at parks, and it’s very rare to find events as unique as this. To top things off, as I was walking away from the final hole I ran into Eric McCabe, the 2010 Disc Golf World Champion (duh). I had the privilege of meeting him, and he was nice enough to sign my Pocono Raceway Emac Truth, which is his signature disc.


The boys were all tuckered out after the round, but we left the raceway all smiles. That smile quickly faded when I realized I had an exam the following morning that I hadn’t studied for yet, but I had no regrets.

If anyone has any interest in giving disc golf a try, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments. I’ve got plenty of extra discs and I’d be more than happy to take you along for a round. Lehigh has a disc golf club, and the Lehigh Valley Disc Club (LVDC) is an incredibly active group in the greater Lehigh Valley area. I can get you in touch with either group.

What I Learned From Running 26.2 Miles

On September 11th, 2016, I took my mark in Allentown and ran all the way to Easton to complete my first full marathon. For those of you who don’t know, a full marathon is a 26.2 mile run. I had run 2 official half marathons before and wanted to check the BIG one off my bucket list. I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew that I would have to dedicate countless hours of my life to training and sacrifice things like going out with my friends and sleeping in. But I also knew that finishing the race would be totally worth it. Training for a marathon gave me a better understanding of who I am and what I’m made of. I am a different person today than I was 5 months ago when I signed up for the Via Marathon and I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.


What I learned:

It takes a special breed of human to run a marathon. When I was 14 years old, I watched my dad finish his first Ironman triathlon. An ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. Since then, I’ve been working my way towards these distances so that someday, I will be an Ironman too. Not everyone can be an Ironman, just like not everyone can run a marathon. Us marathon runners are a bad ass group of highly motivated and self-disciplined humans that can conquer anything. I learned to love endurance sports so much that “you’re crazy” has become one of my favorite compliments.

Even when you think you’ve given everything you’ve got, you still have more to give. Running has taught me to go beyond my bounds. When my legs are begging me to stop at mile 16 and my brain is telling me that I can’t keep going, there is something inside that keeps putting one foot in front of the other. My longest training run preceding the marathon was 18 miles and I was absolutely exhausted. I couldn’t wrap my head around how I would be able to do that, plus 8.2 more miles, but I did. And the best part about it? I finished my race with a smile on my face and didn’t even collapse at end!! I felt limitless.

Time doesn’t matter, a mile is still a mile no matter what pace. I held a 12 minute 35 second pace per mile for the duration of 26.2 miles. I realize that this is not fast. I was not in contention for a Boston Marathon qualifying time or an age group award. All I wanted to do was finish the race. I’ve always been hard on myself for not being able to keep up with other runners my age, but I am slowly starting to accept the fact that a 12:35 minute mile is still a mile. I completed a distance that most people will never even attempt and that in itself is a huge accomplishment. It’s been 3 weeks since my marathon and people are still congratulating me. If they are proud of me, I should be proud of myself too.

Having a support system makes all the difference. The entire Lehigh University Rowing Team participated in either the half or full marathon. Those who could not run completed the half distance on an erg (rowing machine). I was the slowest person on the team to attempt the full marathon so once everyone had finished their race, they hung around for about another 2 hours to see me finish. As I turned the corner at mile 26, teammates came running towards me from what seemed like every direction and ran with me across the line. Those who didn’t run me in were screaming from the sidelines. I had never felt so loved in my life. The announcer even said, “And here comes Laura Parks! She’s got a whole team finishing with her!” After receiving my medal, I was swarmed with hugs and high fives. I honestly believe the only reason I didn’t cry was because my body had run out of salt. Knowing I had a team of awesome people waiting for me at the end made all the pain worth it.


Running a marathon is no easy task. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today had I not decided to take on the challenge that is running 26.2 miles. I definitely see more marathons in my future and I can’t wait to see how many more lessons running has in store for me.



Saturday night was a painful reminder of one thing: I really hate losing. This past


LUWS pre-game huddle

weekend, I traveled with my Lehigh Women’s Soccer team to play our second Patriot League game versus Colgate University. As a senior on the team, I could not ask for a more exciting and positive beginning to our season, as going into this weekend we held an undefeated record of 7-0-1. Not only were we unbeaten, but also held the program’s all-time record for consecutive shutouts. Going into this weekend, there was clearly much to be proud of yet much to still play for. The Patriot League consists of ten schools. With one game down resulting in a win against Holy Cross the weekend before, Colgate marked an early yet very important league game. It was our goal to get 3 points for a win in hopes to align ourselves at a chance to make the postseason playoffs.


Personally, preparation is the most important part of game day. How I approach the game has a huge impact on how I feel for the first whistle blow of the ninety minute match.  First thing is first: sleep!


Game-day breakfast

The night before I aim to get at least nine hours of sleep. Last Friday night I went to bed around 11 PM and woke up at 9 AM. After my beauty rest, a big tasty breakfast is the best way for me to fuel up for the big day. This Saturday I went with a few of my teammates to Blue Sky cafe on W 4th St in Bethlehem. They have a great variety of hearty breakfasts which are a fantastic way to start any one’s day, especially one involving a competitive soccer game. I highly recommend their Special Scramble with crunchy veggies, eggs and goat cheese. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my Saturday. After this individual preparation, I then begin to ponder what the coaching staff has in mind for the entire team.


This season we host four of our league games at home, which unfortunately means we are on the road for the other five. In order to ensure our readiness for a 7pm start time, our team departed Lehigh’s campus at 11:45 AM on brown and white Mountain Hawk detailed coach bus. Colgate is located in Hamilton, New York which is about a three and a half hour drive from Bethlehem. For the first few hours of the trip, each player spent their time on the bus differently by either completing homework, napping, or watching the film “Miracle”, which was being played on the multiple television screens on the bus. My personal “go to” is a nap which makes the travel time fly by.

One of my favorite aspects of traveling to different areas games is exploring different restaurants. At around 2 PM, our bus made a stop at a quaint family-run Italian restaurant in Binghamton, New York called the Cortese Restaurant. Along with quick and friendly service, the food tasted as if I had crashed an Italian family’s Sunday dinner. Nothing says “pre-game meal” like chicken parmesan with a side of smooth mashed


Out front of Cortese Restaurant in Binghamton, NY

potatoes and roasted veggies seasoned in rosemary and garlic. After that meal, the next stop was Colgate. Reloading the bus, the next hour and half has a much different tone as players attempt to mentally prepare for the match. This gave time to go over the scouting report on the opposing team while listening to favorite pump up tunes on personal playlists. Next thing we knew, our bus had pulled up to the Colgate locker rooms and it was go-time.


Focused faces were mixed with the excitement our favorite jams in our locker room booming in the background. This forty five minute period is used to suit up in our brown and white uniforms and generate a collective hype amongst the 24 players. Our head coach Eric Lambinus and assistant Lauren Calabrese came in right before the warm up to give last minute tactics and motivational words. From here, it’s all soccer from our warm up to the tap off.


Colgate vs. Lehigh starting 11’s

The game itself was very fast paced and intense. I play center midfield, so much of my position is involved in most of the plays, causing me to feel as if I was bouncing around all game. We came out a tad nervous, resulting in hesitancy and an early Colgate goal only ten minutes into the first half, which sadly ended our 832 minute shutout streak. From here, the team stepped up the level of play to match Colgate’s for the rest of the first half, which resulted in numerous opportunities. Matching Colgate’s intensity, our Junior center back, Alyssa Riporti, scored off of a corner just ten minutes after Colgate had scored. With many more back and forth opportunities throughout the first 45 minutes, the score remained tied 1-1 at half time.

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During halftime, we talked about staying composed and relaxed by trying to control the game by using our strengths: possession and relentless defense. As the second half whistle blew, every Lehigh player on the field hustled, which payed off in the 86th minute when freshman Sidonie Wernecker buried a shot behind Colgate’s goalie from a pass from Senior Tori Pantaleo. The entire Lehigh bench went wild while the players on the field celebrated the goal with many high-fives and encouraging words. However, the victory had not been ours just yet. Colgate quickly scored again 19 seconds later just before the final whistle resulting in a score of 2-2 and bringing us into over time. Almost as quickly as you can snap your finger, our undefeated season was over. One minute into the sudden-death overtime, Colgate finished the ball in the back right corner of our net, heartbreakingly ending the game and resulting in our first loss. As a competitive person, there’s no worse feeling than walking off the field defeated as your opponent pours onto the field jumping, cheering and hugging each other for their triumph.

Walking away, there were mixed emotions of anger, disappointment, and sadness. Despite these negative feelings, we remained hungry to win the rest of the games this season. This loss leads us to a crossroad: to either settle or to fire back by working even harder in our next league game against Navy. This Wednesday night’s game vs. Navy is huge for our season. This is where we step up as a team and show that the Colgate result is a true outlier in our season. We are certainly not defined by this one loss. If anything, this adversity will only make us better. I can’t wait to see Colgate again in the playoffs and get a much different result.

Want to see the lady Mountain Hawks bounce back? Check out our game on Wednesday night at 7pm as we return to Ulrich Stadium on Lehigh’s Goodman Campus. The rest of our schedule can also be found online on Lehigh Sports, or follow live updates from @LehighWSoccer on Twitter!


Beautiful Ulrich Stadium at sunset 

My Day at Dorney

Although I did not get over to the North Side for the Celtic Classic this weekend I did finally get to go to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. My friend Kendall and I have wanted to go to Dorney Park together since our sophomore year, but could never rally anyone else to join us. The perfect opportunity presented itself when we were informed that our sorority’s fall sisterhood retreat was going to be held at Dorney.

Each semester my chapter plans an event that is optional for all members to attend with the intention of creating a bonding experience for all. In the past our sisterhood retreats have included apple picking at Grim’s Orchard, painting pottery at Color Me Mine, going laser tagging at Lehigh Valley Laser Tag, and bouncing around at Rebounderz in New Jersey. Going to Dorney Park for this retreat was an ideal situation because it meant that we wouldn’t have to do any of the planning for the excursion and it would be free!

On Sunday morning we drove to our chapter house to pick up our tickets and parking pass, divided up the groups for each car, and hit the road. It was a relatively short drive to the park – for some reason I had been expecting it to be further away. We easily found a parking space and, because we already had our tickets, entry was a breeze. In total, about 25 girls attended this event, so once inside the park we split up into smaller groups based on people’s ride preferences.

I grew up going to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA every summer and I think that it was those vacations that instilled my love for amusement parks. As a kid it took me a while to work up the courage to go on my first roller coaster, but once I did there was no going back. Kendall and I were happy to find that our friend Cassie shared the same enthusiasm for roller coasters as we did.


Cassie and I waiting for the front row of Talon

Dorney Park has eight roller coasters and we rode four of them. One of the thrill rides unfortunately was not running on Sunday and the other three were geared more towards children. Each of the four roller coasters that we rode were unique, especially the Stinger. I had never seen a roller coaster’s seats positioned in such a way that you are facing the person sitting across from you and honestly I don’t think that I liked it. The ride itself would have been much more enjoyable without the awkwardness of being face-to-face with a friend – imagine if you were sitting across from a stranger! My favorite ride was Talon. It was the


No  line for the Hydra

first ride that we went on when we got there and we went straight for the front row. Talon is described as a “high-powered scream machine” that has ski-lift style seating, so your feet are hanging and the track is above you instead of below. In addition to roller coasters, Dorney has many classic amusement park rides such as the Swings, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Scrambler and many more. The best part about all of the rides at Dorney was that there were no lines. I think that the longest line we encountered was for the Tilt-a-Whirl solely because there were so many little kids ahead of us.

The park contains 20+ food options, but they are mostly fast food and burger joints. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good burger, but my friends and I were not too amused by the steep prices of the meals. We decided that instead of wasting our money purchasing snacks inside the park we would make a pit stop at the Promenade Shops on our way back to Lehigh. This way there was a wider variety of options and each of us could decide what type of food we wanted without dealing with the unreasonable prices of the concession stands.

Having never previously been to Dorney it probably would have been helpful to have grabbed a map near the entryway. Although the park is not very big in comparison to other amusement parks that I have been to, the layout was a bit tricky. All in all, the day ran very smoothly and I would highly recommend large groups planning trips to Dorney. It was particularly nice this time of year because the weather was perfect, and there were no other groups as I’m sure there would have been throughout the summer months.Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 8.13.32 PM.png

You can find out more about planning your trip to Dorney Park on their website where you will find information about their upcoming events and ticket sales, and a park map.

A Walk For Cancer Through Lehigh Valley


Jack Kutsukos

For those of you who have never had cancer affect your family or loved ones, consider yourself extremely lucky.  When I was in 8th grade, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The day she told me, I remember feeling so out of place. Was I sad? Was I scared? Was I nervous? No. It seems so naïve looking back, but at the time I never considered it a real possibility My mom was in danger. Three months later, watching my mom go through chemotherapy was the first time the severity of her situation settled in my mind. That was 8 years ago. Today, I am lucky enough to say I just got off the phone with my mom, who has been cancer free for 7 years.

Ever since the 8th grade I’ve always tried to participate in as many cancer charity events as possible. This past Sunday, September 25th, I attended the Lehigh Valley Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk


Zack Michael and I enjoying our walk!


, hosted by The Lustgarten Foundation. As a member of the greek community here at Lehigh, philanthropy is something we hold of utmost importance. However, this wasn’t just any philanthropy event. One of my fellow fraternity brother, Jack, has a father that is currently battling pancreatic cancer. As someone who has had a parent go through cancer, I knew how much it would mean to him to come out and support the cause, and to show my support for him.

I woke up in my off campus house at 9:00 Sunday morning groaning. I had overslept, as check in for the Research walk was at 8:30. I rubbed my eyes, and yelled at all my housemates to wake up. My friends Zack, Brendan, and myself all jumped in Zack’s car, and peeled out of East 5th street, heading on our way towards Allentown. 15 minutes into the drive, we have no idea where we are, driving through Allentown neighborhoods. As we all are trying to find where this walk could possible be, we see a sign for the Lehigh Parkway. Pulling into the park reminded me of my old high school cross country days, as it resembled so many cross country parks I had ran through years ago. We got there at 9:45, an hour and 15 minutes after check-in started, and 15 minutes before the walk. Walking towards the check in booth, I couldn’t believe how many people were there. Directly under the starting line  stood a man wearing a dog mascot outfit, followed by a line of 2,000 people all wearing purple t-shirts. My two friends and I walked up to the check in booth, paid our $50 dollar registration fee, and received our t-shirts. They had run out of the standard purple ones, so the lady behind the booth gave us the same kind of yellow volunteer t-shirt she was wearing. About 2,000 people there, and I was probably only one of 15 people not working the event to have a yellow t-shirt. It’s safe to say I was not mad about them running out of purple ones, as yellow is more my color anyway.

As Brendan, Zack, and I walked down the line of people, we finally found Jack near the end of the line. With him was about 30 other members of my fraternity, all there to support Jack and his father’s fight, and donating towards the fight to end Pancreatic Cancer. I could see how much it meant to Jack that we were all there with him, and I also knew exactly how he felt. The walk reminded me of the Relay for Life event that is held in my hometown every year. The year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, all my closest friends went with me, and joined the team representing my mom’s fight. Knowing just how special the support of friends is, I was more than happy that I could be there for Jack, like my hometown friends had once been there for me.


Members of the Chi Phi Fraternity showing their support!

The walk itself was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. First off, with a cool breeze and not a cloud in the sky, you couldn’t ask for better weather. Second, the trail we walked on was a dirt path through the forest, circling a stream, with a barn bridge in the middle of it. Most philanthropy and community service events I participate in here at college are all mostly contained to Lehigh’s campus, or at best the south side of Bethlehem. This was the philanthropy event I had gone to outside of the Lehigh bubble. I got to meet tons of people from the Lehigh Valley community during the 3 mile walk around the park. If there were 2,000 people there, then there must have been about 200 dogs as well, so being a huge dog person, I tried to interact with every dog and owner as possible. I talked with one lady who owned a German Shepard for about 20 minutes about what both Bethlehem and Allentown were like when she went to Moravian College 30 years ago. The walk was over before I knew it, as I had fun with not only all my friends and brothers, but with citizens of the

Lehigh Valley community.


Members of the Lehigh Valley striding it out!

For those who have never participated in a cancer walk, I would highly suggest going. Not only is it a great time, but it’s for a fantastic cause. If I were to give any suggestions on how to improve the walk next year, I would encourage the use of social media and advertising on campuses to raise awareness for the walk. The only reason I knew about it was because my friend Jack informed our fraternity about it. Almost all the people were there were adults living in the lehigh valley; I didn’t see any other Lehigh students with the exception of my fraternity members, and one other sorority form Lehigh. If there were more advertising on campuses at Lehigh and Moravian, I bet there would be even more people there raising money for pancreatic cancer. If you are reading this and will be at Lehigh next semester, I highly encourage you to go and donate. 100% of the money raise goes towards finding the cure towards one of the worst types of cancer, and your donations and time could help save a life.

Lehigh Rugby takes on IUP

rugby-picI’ve played rugby at Lehigh University for 2 years. This Saturday the Lehigh Men’s club rugby team had one of its toughest matchups of the year. It was an away game with a start time at noon. Since IUP is a four-hour drive from Lehigh we had to wake up early for the game.

It was 6:30 in the morning and I was jolted awake when I heard my alarm clock go off. That’s earlier than when I normally have to wake up for class during the week. I rolled out of bed and collected all of the gear that I would need for the game. My backpack was filled with rugby shorts, cleats, compression shorts, mouth guards and water. I made my way out to my car and picked up one of my teammates on the way to Taylor gym, the teams meeting spot before every away game. On the way we stopped off at Johnny’s Bagels at Campus Square to get some breakfast that we would eat on the ride over.

Normally the team carpools to away games, but since IUP is over a four-hour drive The University financed a bus to bring the whole team. When I heard about the bus, it was music to my ears. Being one of the few players on the team who has a car, I get stuck with the responsibility of driving teammates to most away games. However, with this bus I was able to finally sit back and relax during the ride. The team departed from campus at roughly 7:10. The ride itself wasn’t all too exciting. It mainly consisted of players sleeping and listening to music on their phones or ipods with the occasional conversation with someone sitting near you.

We arrived at the IUP field close to 11, giving us a full hour to warm up and prepare for the game to come. We have the same warm up routine before every game that we run through as a team. We take a lap around the field, then do a dynamic stretch were we stretch and move at the same time followed by static stretching where we sit down and slowly stretch whatever we missed in the dynamic set. Then we get started with some drills to warm up our hands with catching the ball.

However, for me personally I had a different warm up for this game. Coming into this game I knew I had a strained hamstring from a game earlier in the year. It’s a lingering injury that I’ve had off and on throughout my rugby career so it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. The key is to just slowly stretch it out during your warm up and to not overexert it before the game.

After our warm up the team was ready to face off against IUP in what would be a terrific game. Rugby can be complicated to someone who doesn’t know the rules so here is a link with some of the basic rules. Basics of Rugby

We started our game against IUP kicking the ball off to them to start the first half. The game started out slow. With a total of 30 players on a field, it can be difficult to advance the ball. Players were running directly into the defense trying to make something happen. Finally about halfway through the first half, thunder struck. One of the Backs for IUP broke through our line for a breakaway score to go up 7-0. Lehigh quickly responded with what is equivalent to a field goal in football to bring the game to a 7-3 score still in favor of IUP. The game resumed as players continued to run hard and hit the other team with everything they had. Finally at half time the teams had a break and got a chance to recover and drink some water. By this point my hamstring was pretty worn out so I was subbed out for teammate.

Halftime ended and the game recommenced. The players continued to wear each other down until someone scored. Unfortunately for us, it was IUP who wore out our defense and managed to score. The second half was long and arduous for a young Lehigh rugby team. The game ended with IUP winning 27-13. For Lehigh Men’s club rugby this was a great result. Two years ago we lost to IUP 73-0 in a blowout. To improve that much in just to years and have a close game with a power house like IUP shows that Lehigh men’s rugby is improving quickly and a threat to any team that we may face.

Despite losing the game, we left pleased with our overall performance. Now all we had left to do was to sit back and recover from the laborious game and catch up on much needed sleep while we rode back to Lehigh.

The Great Pocono Escape: Round 2

gpe logo black and white 2016

At the beginning of the fall semester, the countdown began to watch a year’s worth of planning and hard work come into fruition. The excitement was building – looking forward to the crisp morning air, 7:15 am Zumba work-outs, kayaking, late-night bonfires, and star-filled skies. Before the fun could begin, I, along with my fellow Great Pocono Escape coordinators, spent our Thursday night completing cabin and bus assignments, printing out name-tags and going over our script and emergency protocol in the basement of the University Center until we were kicked out by the building supervisors at midnight.


Kayaking, S’mores at the Bonfire and the View of the Lake

The Great Pocono Escape took place from Friday, September 23, 2016 to Sunday, September 25, 2016 at Camp Canadesis in the Poconos Mountains. The Great Pocono Escape is an annual leadership retreat hosted by the Office of Student Leadership Development spanning over three days and two nights nights that allows a diverse group of organizations and student leaders to collaborate and work together to create a stronger Lehigh community as well as enjoy a weekend away from the fast-paced environment of Lehigh’s campus. Despite the fluctuating numbers throughout the planning process, this year we were pleasantly surprised to have the largest participant turn-out in the seven years since this program has been in place with 250 attendees.


Camp Canadensis and the Summer Camp Style Cabins

Our overwhelming attendance was made up of eight various groups and organizations namely – Camp Hawk, Global Union, Indian Student Association (ISA), SophoMORE Escape, Student Senate, Orientation Coordinators, Happiness Collective, Residence Hall Association (RHA) as well as their advisors. The majority of the organizations used their time at the retreat to engage in goal setting, take part in team-building activities and also to participate in large group activities and conversations to form collaborative connections and foster dialogue across student groups. President Simon and Provost Farrell were also in attendance at GPE as they partook in fireside chats to have open discussions with students about Lehigh – ranging from issues with the dining hall food and issues of racism present on campus.


Group Good Morning Activity on Saturday led by SophoMORE Escape.

This year I got to focus my time solely on making sure the entire weekend ran smoothly. I was able to be more “hands-on” in dealing with every aspect and event on the schedule. Most of the nitty-gritty logistics work was done before the weekend; however, the coordinators were still tasked with ensuring that everything ran smoothly during the retreat itself – from making certain that organizations had supplies in their breakout rooms to making sure participants had marshmallows at the bonfire every night. We led the large group meetings on the stage and going through the schedule, announcements, and reflections throughout the weekend. Most large group meetings started off with a line dance to get everyone excited and warmed up in the cold weather. Tiffany and I, with GPE 2015 under our belts, served as mentors to ensure that both Danielle and Gwladys were learning what do every step of the way, so that they would be prepared to run the show on their own after Tiffany and I graduate this Spring.

This was our first year running the show without the presence of one of our key advisors, Christine Gravelle, the former Assistant Dean and Director of Student Leadership Development and Civic Engagement of Lehigh University. Even though Christine was unable to attend the Great Pocono Escape this past weekend, she played a tremendous role in both planning the retreat from the very beginning as well as guiding the coordinators throughout the process. To show our appreciation for her, we sent our love from Camp Canadensis via a Snapchat video.

“Thank you, Christine. We love GPE. Good luck in Texas!”

While the Great Pocono Escape is over for this year, the planning and anticipation are starting up again to make next year’s GPE even greater. The Office of Student Leadership Development is always looking to expand its reach and impact on campus and increase our participant turn-out. If you or your organization is interested in taking part in the Great Pocono Escape experience, contact Gwladys Boukpessi or Danielle Campbell at for more information. To get a better picture of what exactly GPE is, check out the Office of Student Leadership Development on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramFlickr and our website.


GPE 2016 Coordinators (L-R): Danielle Campbell, Gwladys Boukpessi, Tiffany Montgomery, Michaela Sunga

Tapas on Main & Lorenzo


Outside of Tapas

On Friday, September 23rd, I decided to cross the bridge and venture to the historical North Side of Bethlehem. I visit Main Street in a quest for great food and great live music. I found this at Tapas on Main, a popular restaurant amongst residents of the Lehigh Valley. The restaurant opened in May of 2011 and offers a variety of meats, cheeses, tapas, and a variety of Spanish inspired dishes. It is the first of its kind in Bethlehem and has won several awards since it’s opening. The restaurant also features a bar with seasonal sangrias, a wide selection of cocktails, and Spanish wine. Readers of Lehigh Valley Style also awarded it for having the best sangria in 2016.

I visited the restaurant at around 7:30 p.m., anticipating live music by Lorenzo at 8 p.m. Tapas on Main regularly sets up live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Lorenzo is a local one-man band who performs contemporary, Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Latin, and Soul. I arrived to the restaurant in a group of twelve and was seated toward the back. The aroma of Spanish spices filled the dark room lit with candlelight and dim spotlights. The walls are red and black complete with large wooden racks of hundreds of Spanish wines. Couples, families, and large groups are seated throughout the inside, at the bar, and on their patio.

Juan Carlos Paredes, a native of Colombia and a lover of food owns the restaurant. He also owns Mesa Modern Mexican in Downtown Easton, which serves traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist, as well as the French bistro that shares their kitchen next door, Cachette.

The twelve us took our seats and began to look at the extensive menu filled with tapas, small plates to be shared with 2-3 people; cocas, small flatbread pizzas; assorted meat and cheese plates; soups and salads; and entrees. We started off with 2 meat and cheese plates for the table. We decided on the mixed platter, Bandeja Mixta, where we could choose any three meats and cheeses. We chose the Traditional Jamon Serrano, country ham with a lean, tender texture, comparable to prosciutto, cured in the mountains in Spain and two cheeses, Tetilla Ninfas, which is a soft cheese made from cow’s milk with a mild, tangy flavor; and Mahon Curado Reservo Menorca, a creamy and flaky cheese with flavors of grass, butter, fruit, and sea salt.

We then decided on a variety of Tapas to split between the twelve of us. The Salmon Tartare was my favorite; it is comprised of house-made potato chips with salmon in the middle, topped with whole grain mustard aioli. I also enjoyed the Spinach dip, made with a mixture of Gouda cheese served with toasted pita. We also enjoyed the Papas a la Francesa, hand-cut potato fries topped with manchego cheese and truffle oil. I also got a personal order of a coca. I chose the Coca Vegetarianas, a flatbread pizza with wilted kale, quinoa, shaved asparagus, smoked mozzarella, and chipotle olive oil. It was delicious. Our table also enjoyed a few pitchers of their award-winning Sangria in strawberry peach flavor.


Beautiful Salmon Tartare

Once we received our food, Lorenzo took to the microphone; he played a mix of different genres from 8p.m.-11p.m. The music was perfect for the atmosphere; he played a medley of songs to fit anyone’s taste but still managed to compliment the vibe of the restaurant. The audience received his set positively. He performed with several different instruments including the guitar, flute, and percussion, and added vocals as well. The set was a mix of his own original music while also performing requests from the audience. Lorenzo is originally a member of The Big Wahu, a Caribbean band from Bethlehem. The band performs authentic calypso, reggae, Caribbean, and beach music. They also perform regularly at Hershey Park, Steel Stacks, Jersey Shore, and all over the east coast. Lorenzo takes much of his inspiration from what he performs with his band and transforms it into a solo act with a medley of styles for all audiences.


Lorenzo Poster

After enjoying an hour of Lorenzo, we decided to order dessert. We ordered three plates of churros, which are Spanish doughnuts dusted in cinnamon and sugar served with dark chocolate and vanilla dipping sauce. We left the restaurant at 10:30 p.m. as Lorenzo was finishing his set.

The experience at Tapas on Main was incomparable to anything I’ve experience on the North Side. The flavors were robust and every plate was carefully crafted and amazing to indulge in. The atmosphere was perfect for a quiet night out with friends and they were very accommodating to large groups. Not to mention, the live music was outstanding and added the perfect touch to a girl’s night out.

To learn more about Tapas on Main and the next time a live act will be performing, visit their website, , their Facebook page,, or their twitter, @TapasOnMain. The restaurant is a gem of the North Side that simply cannot be missed.

7 Steps to Enjoying a Lehigh Football Game



1. Wear Your Lehigh Gear. It doesn’t have to be everything you own or a sweatshirt, but make sure you’ve got some brown or white on. I know it’s not cool to support Lehigh or be proud that you go here, but it gives you a connection to the game going on. Lehigh gives out so many free shirts, so not having one isn’t an excuse either.

2. Get to the Game. This is the biggest reason I’ve heard people say about not going to the game. And I get it, Goodman campus is far away. I don’t have a car so I can’t get there. Except Lehigh runs buses to the game all morning long. You know what isn’t far away? Taylor gym. I don’t know the exact departure schedule, but if you show up at Taylor gym around noon on a game day. You’ll get on a bus within 5 minutes. If you’re driving its even easier. Parking is right next to the stadium and is free.

3. Go to a Tailgate. I didn’t have time for this one, but it seems like a good step to add. Especially if they have food, stadium food is expensive. Chances are the student tailgates won’t have food though, so maybe just go to hang out with friends before the game.

4. Go Inside the Stadium. It is incredible that when I ask some friends if they’ve gone to games they respond by saying they’ve been to the tailgates but not the game. How? It is right there! The stadium is right next to anywhere people tailgate. And it’s free! You just have to walk in and flash your Lehigh ID card. What if you forgot your Lehigh ID card? You can just say you’re a student and write down your email and they’ll let you in. Trust me, I was about to pass my ID through the fence to my friend when he lost his.

5. Find a Spot on the Hill. If stadium seats are your thing, fine, you do you. But there is a perfectly sloped hill right next to the field that offers some great views of the game as well as a relaxing seating area.

6. Get on Field to Kick a Field Goal. I don’t know how to do this one, but around the end of the first quarter 2 students are pulled from the crowd to kick a field goal attempt. It is an easy enough shot, only 25 yards, and if you make it you win a large pizza from Dominoes. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Next time I go, my goal is to win that pizza.

7. Stay for the Band. A lot of people want to leave early. I guess if you didn’t pay for a game there is less motivation to stay for the whole thing, but at the very least, you should stay until halftime is over. The marching band puts on a show the students can enjoy in addition to embarrassing the PA announcer.

7. Join the Cheering Section. This is where the fun is. Right up in front of the stands there is a loud group of students intent on cheering on the team. If you are more of a high energy person and sitting on the grass all game isn’t for you then this is the place to be. You can get tossed in the air after a touchdown or yell at the refs after a bad call, in this group of people a camaraderie can be found instantly. Just remember to have fun.

7. Take a Walk Around the Stadium. There isn’t a whole lot of room at Goodman Stadium, mostly just stands with the grassy hill in between them but take a look around. There are people other than vendors and you might just find a club set up. This weekend I ran into Dance Marathon trying to fundraise and saw some pretty sweet deals on Lehigh gear. Plus the walk isn’t too bad if you need a stretch break.

Well there you have it, now more than ever it should be easy for you to go enjoy a football at Goodman stadium. Next time there is a home game is also family weekend, so expect more people than normal and expect a good show. October 8th, vs Colgate. See you there!

How Attending the Celtic Classic Renewed My Pride In My Heritage

Each fall, Bethlehem hosts an event called the Celtic Classic; a festival showcasing and celebrating the Celtic culture. It includes everything from live music and dancing to strength and haggis eating competitions. Although I’ve lived in Bethlehem for four years, I’ve never attended the festival- until this year.

I am someone with a fairly rich Irish family background. Despite having familial roots in multiple European countries, with a last name like Lynch I’ve always felt most connected with my Irish heritage. Last year, I was lucky enough to spend four months


The Lynch flag in Galway’s Eyre Square

studying abroad in Galway, Ireland; a city that was founded in part by the Lynch clan. When your last name is emblazoned on a flag in the town square and a castle in the city center, it’s hard not to feel at home. Studying abroad was a life changing experience that brought me closer to my heritage than ever before, but that was a year ago. Since then, I have once again become accustomed to all of my American habits, losing some of the Irish customs I had picked up during my time there. Attending the Celtic Classic helped revive the passion I had for the Celtic culture while I was experiencing it first hand.

When I first arrived at the festival, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who had dressed up for the occasion. I have never seen that many kilts! My friend Kallie and I headed over to the tents to shop around. I refrained from buying a kilt although I was tempted! In one tent I found some items that bore the Lynch family name and once again I felt that sense of belonging that I had grown accustomed to in Galway. We continued to walk around and eventually decided to stop and get some food. They had so many options it was hard to choose. I ended up getting the Irish nachos- thin spiral chips covered in gravy, cheese, and lamb. Yum! My friend tried the fish and chips, which were also delicious.


Me with my Irish Nachos – check out the guy in the kilt in the background!

We took our food and headed over to the main stage to see what was going on. As we got closer, I began to hear a distantly familiar sound: the hard shoes of an Irish Step Dancer. Sure enough, there on the stage were a group of girls wearing huge curls and bright dresses dancing an Irish jig. Once again I was reminded of a time when my pride in my heritage was at an all time high. I used to be one of those girls. I took Irish Step dancing classes for about four years during my childhood. It seems so long ago that I forget about it sometimes, but watching those dancers perform brought me back to the first time in my life that I felt connected to my heritage. We stayed at the main stage for their entire performance as well as for the band that came on after them. We had a lot of fun talking to the people around us and clapping along to the beat. There’s something about Celtic music that just makes you have to tap your foot. Eventually it got cold and the festival came to an end, so we headed home after a day of food and fun.

One of the biggest takeaways I got from attending the festival was the friendliness of the people. Multiple people came up and talked to us without prompting- the Irish truly are the friendliest people in the world! I really enjoyed my day at the Celtic Classic and, although it made me miss my time in Ireland, it reminded me to be proud of where I come from. My only regret is that I didn’t go until my senior year! I encourage everyone in the area to experience this festival, whether you have Celtic roots or not. Hopefully I will see you there next year, I will definitely be back!