BETHELHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s cross country team continued its impressive season with a ninth place finish in the men’s college Gold 8K run at the 39th Annual Paul Short Run, presented by Brooks on the Goodman Campus Course. Junior co-captain Tyler Mueller was the Mountain Hawks’ top finisher, placing 19th out of a field of 332 finishers with a time of 24:31. It was Lehigh’s best finish this decade after two 10th place finishes (2002 and 2005).
"Tyler’s just a tough kid," said head coach Todd Etters. "You can see it every day in training and he’s a captain for us so you can see those leadership skills coming out a little more each day. When the pressure is on, he’s the go-to guy and that’s great to see him develop into that."
The 22nd-ranked Villanova Wildcats took the crown with an overall team score of 69 and three top ten finishers in the men’s college Gold 8K. The College of William and Mary (100) placed second, edging out 15th-ranked Georgetown (101) by one point, while Dartmouth College (175) and Providence College (194) rounded out the top five.
Lehigh sophomore Ryan Mahalsky followed Mueller, finishing 36th with a time of 24:38, while junior co-captain Jimmy Miller ran strong, placing 47th (24:56). Senior Lyle O’Brien was the fourth finisher for the Mountain Hawks, crossing the line in 101st in 25:31, while sophomore Casey Gilboy finished right behind him in 109th (25:38). Sophomore Nick Ward (25:56) placed 149th and junior Nick Molloy (26:08) crossed the line in 176th to round out the scoring performers for the Mountain Hawks.
"Our goal was to be in the top 10 and we were ninth and I was very pleased," said Etters. "I thought our guys ran very well and smart. For our first real test of the season I think they did great."
Senior Mark Dennin from Georgetown was the winner of the men’s college Gold 8K, while USC Upstate senior Gilbert Kemboi took second (23:59) and senior Jim Spisak from Duquesne University finished third (24:00).
The University of Pennsylvania took the top spot in the men’s college Brown 8K race with an overall team score of 47 points after placing three runners in the top 10 and finishing 120 points ahead of second place Canisius College (167). Stony Brook (182), East Stroudsburg (186) and SUNY Cortland (191) rounded out the top five in the Brown race.
Of the 283 finishers, East Stroudsburg senior Frank Fezza was the champion, finishing in 25:03, while sophomore Eric Speakman from Stony Brook was second, missing the top spot by two seconds (25:05). University of Pennsylvania freshman Brendan Smith crossed the line in third place with a time of 25:18.
The top spot in the men’s college White 8K race went to Ramapo College after a team score of 107 points. The University of Mary Washington placed second with 125 points, while the Rochester Institute of Technology (149), Rowan University (193) and DeSales University (203) completed the top five teams to finish.
Senior Rob Albano from Felician College won the men’s college White 8K after finishing in 25:24. Washington and Jefferson senior Scott Ryan finished second (25:49) and senior Alec Connelly from Rutgers University-Camden placed third (26:22).
West Chester East won the high school boy’s Brown 5K race with an overall team score of 152 points. Holy Cross senior Rico Galassi was the individual winner with a time of 15:44.
Central Dauphin claimed the crown in the high school boy’s White 5K with 77 points. Junior Peter Horton from Bethesda Chevy-Chase was the individual winner with a time of 16:14.
In the boy’s JV race, sophomore Josh Smith from Salesianum School was the winner, finishing with a time of 17:25.
When asked about his reaction to the prestigious event, Etters was happy and honored to have been a part of the historic run.
"I thought it went very well," said Etters. "My hat goes off to the officials and all the people that are behind the scenes busting it for this event. I don’t think it goes flawless without all those people coming together and really taking a lot of pride in what they do and it’s awesome to look out to a big empty field and hard to imagine there was even a cross country meet today. I think this was a special one this year and it was great to be a part of it."
Lehigh will now idle until October 13 when the Mountain Hawks will compete at the Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky. The meet is scheduled for 10 a.m.