BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After a ninth place finish in the 39th Annual Paul Short Run, the Lehigh men’s cross country team will travel to Louisville, Ky. and Princeton, N.J. to take part in the Pre-Nationals and Princeton Invitational this weekend. The Mountain Hawks will split as eight will compete in a field that features nine nationally-ranked teams at Pre-Nationals, including No. 3 BYU and No. 9 Tulsa, while the rest will compete at the Princeton Invitational.
After a first place finish at the Lehigh Invitational to start the season, a 16-47 victory over rival Lafayette at the annual Lehigh-Lafayette Dual Meet and a top 10 finish at the Paul Short Run, their best of the decade, the Mountain Hawks are hoping to ride that momentum into what will be a challenging field of competitors at the Pre-Nationals.
Co-captain Tyler Mueller will hope to continue his success on the course, as the junior has two wins and a top 20 finish at the Paul Short Run under his belt thus far this season. After winning the 6K Lehigh Invitational in 18:24.70, Mueller dominated in his first 8K race at the annual Lehigh-Lafayette Dual Meet two weeks later, finishing in 24:54 which was good for the 10th-best time by a Lehigh performer on the Goodman Campus Course.
Pre-Nationals will be the first time the eight men hit the road to compete away from their home course at Lehigh. In their first meet away from home last season, the men finished fourth out of 21 at the Penn State National Invitation.
Joining No. 3 BYU and No. 9 Tulsa to the mix will be No. 12 Villanova, No. 14 Florida State, No. 15 Oregon, No. 20 Georgetown, No. 20 Eastern Kentucky, No. 23 William and Mary and No. 26 Indiana. The Mountain Hawks have already competed against three of those nine teams as Villanova, William and Mary and Georgetown were all participants in the 39th Annual Paul Short Run, presented by Brooks, two weeks ago.
The rest of the Mountain Hawks will make the trip to New Jersey to compete in the Princeton Invitational at West Windsor Field on Saturday. Will play host to intense competition as No. 5 Iona and No. 17 Columbia will be in action, along with a plethora of competitive teams.
The Mountain Hawks are now ranked sixth in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division I Mid-Atlantic regional rankings. The sixth-place ranking is the highest Lehigh has ever received from the USTFCCCA, as the Mountain Hawks are off to one of their best starts in program history.
After the Princeton Invitational, the men will break for two weeks before returning to the course in Hamilton, N.Y. as Colgate will be the site of this year’s Patriot League Championships, set to be held at 10 a.m. on October 27.