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Blaine prepares for unique final season

Lehigh University senior and Northwestern Lehigh High School graduate Jonathan Blaine will have a unique final year as a student-athlete in 2020-21. With the Patriot League postponing fall sports to the spring because of the pandemic, Blaine and his teammates will have to adjust to a new schedule. But Lehigh will continue to help him in this phase of his life.

“Being a student-athlete at a school like Lehigh has been one of the toughest and most rewarding endeavors,” said Blaine. “There are so many lessons both in sports and higher education that change an 18-year-old kid into a 22-year-old man.

“I have certainly grown and changed quite a bit since I arrived in Bethlehem for the first time back in the summer of 2017. In many ways, I have rediscovered a youthful love of learning, as opposed to solely caring about grades and tests.”

As one of the top high school players in all of District 11, Blaine had his options to play at other Patriot League schools and some Ivy League institutions. Lehigh had the best of both worlds.

Blaine has played in 13 career games, making four starts, and is excited to play his final season with the group that the Mountain Hawks have coming back.

His team has gotten better each season he’s been there. Lehigh reached the Patriot League quarterfinals in 2017 then made it to the semifinals the next year. In 2019, the Hawks went all the way to the league title game, where they captured the third league title in school history and first since 2015.

“My goal as a senior on the team is to lead the players around me and set an example of hard work and dedication,” said Blaine. “That could be on the field, as a sub, or as a reserve, whatever is needed of me. I think that every player on our roster accepted their respective roles last year, and that is why we had so much success.”

In high school, Blaine led the Tigers to league and district championships while also consistently making the honor roll.

“Northwestern will always be a bright and formative spot in my life,” Blaine said. “I graduated with a lot of people that I went to pre-school with. I still see so many of my friends from those years on a regular basis, and I know that I will remain close with them for the rest of my life.

“It continues to amaze me how talented and dedicated many of our teachers were in both conveying subject matter as well as connecting with students. I feel fortunate that these types of people taught all of us in high school, because their knowledge and passion for education rivals that of any professor I have had at Lehigh.

“We won a lot of games, lifted a lot of trophies, and broke a lot of records while doing it. We felt the community rally around us and were always happy to provide joy and Tiger pride to the area.”

Blaine has continued to model a student-athlete as a Mountain Hawk. In each of his three seasons, he was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.

PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF LEHIGH UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS Last fall Jonathan Blaine was part of Lehigh's first Patriot League mens soccer championship since 2015.