BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh University was the site of the 39th Annual Paul Short Run, presented by Brooks as more than 5,000 athletes and 400 schools traveled from across the nation to compete in the prestigious event. The Lehigh men’s cross country team finished ninth in a field of 37 teams in the men’s college Gold 8K, its best finish of the decade, as the women’s cross country team took 30th of 40 in the women’s college Gold 6K.
Junior co-captain Tyler Mueller was the Mountain Hawks’ top finisher for the men, 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 in the men’s college Gold 8K with an overall team score of 69 and three top ten finishers. 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 (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 so 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 (23:57) 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."
On the women’s side, the Mountain Hawks’ top performer was senior Julia Perry who placed 146th out of the 360 finishers with a time of 22:37. It was just Perry’s second cross country race of her career as she edged out junior Hannah Pierce who finished 162nd in 22:47 as the second Lehigh finisher.
"Two night and day events for her (Julia Perry)," said Utesch. "She came into the dual meet and ran against one team and comes into Paul Short and runs against 40 teams. It was two completely different atmospheres in the sport of cross country that she’s experienced in the past month but she did a pretty good job of navigating that."
Along with Perry and Pierce, sophomore Ingrid Simon ran a tough race, placing 173rd with a time of 22:53. Junior Jessica Kendzor (22:53) placed 175th, while freshman Jennifer Markham placed 184th (23:00). Seniors Amanda Gosselin (23:04) and Victoria Berard (23:05) crossed the line in 189th and 191st, respectively, to complete the Lehigh scoring runners.
"I think it was a huge learning experience for the younger runners on our team and for the inexperienced cross country runners on our team," said head coach Debbie Utesch. "We continued with our strength as our one-to-five pack was tremendous and I was very pleased with their effort in this quantity of a field. It was pretty amazing that they were able to keep that."
Cornell claimed the top spot in the women’s college Gold 6K race, finishing with 55 points and three runners inside the top 10. The College of William and Mary placed second with 102 points clipping fourth-ranked Georgetown who took third with 106 points. Yale (147) and Dartmouth (149) completed an extremely competitive top five.
Dartmouth junior Abby D’Agostino was the champion of the women’s college Gold 6K, finishing in 19:58, while Cornell senior Katie Kellner took second (20:22) by beating freshman Sarah Colllins from Providence College by one second (20:23).
The women’s college Brown 6K went to the University of Pittsburgh as the Panthers scored 124 points and finished two runners in the top 25. The University of Rhode Island (165) placed second, while Princeton (187) finished third.
Junior Victoria Davis of Bloomsburg won the race after finishing in 21:50, topping second place finisher Rachel Malone of SUNY Brockport by 11 seconds (22:01). South Florida senior Nicole Rozario finished third, just four seconds behind Malone (22:05).
In the women’s college White race, Washington and Lee claimed the top spot with an overall score of 59 points with three runners in the top 10. Eastern Mennonite was a close second, finishing with 88 points and three top 20 performers, while Lebanon Valley took home third with 178 points.
The winner of the women’s college White 6K was Misericordia senior Marina Orrson with a time of 22:41. Drew University senior Jennifer Van Wingerden finished two seconds behind her in 22:43, while freshman Hannah Chappell-Dick of Lebanon Valley took third with a time of 22:52.
In the high school girl’s Brown 5K, Voorhees claimed the crown with 104 points and two top 20 finishers. The individual winner of the Brown 5K was freshman Mady Clahane of Cumberland Valley.
Villa Joseph Marie took the top spot in the high school girl’s White 5K race with an overall score of 167 points. Nazareth Academy junior Veronica Wheeler was the individual champion, crossing the line in 19:41.
Freshman Kamryn McIntosh of Suffern was the champion of the JV girl’s 5K with a time of 21:11.
Utesch wishes that the weather would have been a little nicer, but in all, was pleased with the day and the spectacle that has become the Paul Short Run.
"It’s a great day," said Utesch. "We wish that Mother Nature would cooperate more with us the night before the race so the course wouldn’t mud up but we have some of the greatest fans that come out in these elements to watch their son or daughters compete in these events. I think it was a tremendous atmosphere despite the rain in the morning and a great opportunity for kids from all over the country to come to Lehigh and see what we have to offer."
Lehigh will break until October 13 when the men will travel to compete in the Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky and the women will head to the Princeton Invitational. Both meets are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.