Lehigh places fourth at Penn State Nationals
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s cross country team finished fourth out of 21 teams with 142 points at the Penn State National Invitational Friday morning. Senior Evans Kosgei finished second out of 189 runners to lead the way for the Mountain Hawks with a time of 26:18. While Kosgei was second overall, he was the first scoring runner to cross the finish line.
“Evans did exactly what I would hope he would do,” said head coach Todd Etters. “He is still undefeated in the region and I think he will be able to build a lot of confidence from this race.”
After Kosgei, the Mountain Hawks placed four more runners inside the Top 50. Freshman Casey Gilboy finished 30th (27:25), sophomore Jimmy Miller was 32nd (27:28), sophomore Tyler Mueller was 37th (27:31) and senior Evan Flach was 42nd (27:34). Sophomore Sam Bernitt (62nd) and junior Lyle O’Brien (81st) rounded out the group.
“I was very happy, our pack did a great job of being disciplined and running a smart race,” said Etters. “The conditions were really tough with rain and mud but they did an outstanding job figuring out where they needed to be.”
Host Penn State won the race with 47 points as it placed five runners inside the Top 20. Grand Valley State took second with 55 points and Duquesne finished third with 77 points.
Ryan Blood was the overall winner of the race with a time of 26:13. Blood is a post-collegian, professional runner and ran as an unattached runner as he is training to try to make the Olympic trials.
The race gave Lehigh a good look at some of the other ranked teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Entering the race Penn State was No. 4, Lehigh was No. 8, Duquesne was No. 9 and Penn was No. 12. While Penn State and Duquesne finished ahead of Lehigh, Etters was happy to see how his team stacked up against them.
“I think we were right there with them,” he said. “I think Duquesne’s pack was slightly ahead of us but we beat them at Paul Short. Penn State has been in and out of the National Rankings but it was nice to see that we matched up quite well. We aren’t that far from being that type of caliber team ourselves.”
While Lehigh’s top seven runners had a successful race Friday, another group of eight Mountain Hawks will be running at the Lafayette Invitational Saturday at 10 a.m.
It will be the final race of the season before the Patriot League Championship which Lehigh will host on the Goodman Campus Course Saturday, October 29th at 11:00 a.m.