The men’s and women’s cross country teams ventured up to Lehigh for the Paul Short Invitational on Saturday.
Led by senior Will Kellar, the men’s squad finished 26th overall as a unit. The women finished 19th out of the 45 participating schools, and were led by junior Jenna Dubrow and senior Anna Pavone, who both finished in the Top 20 individually.
Dubrow and Pavone turned in the highlight of the Owls’ day with times of 22:10 seconds and 22:21 for 13th and 20th place finishes, respectively, on the six-kilometer women’s course.
“To me we still have a long way to go on the women’s side, but they did exactly what we asked them to do,” distance coach James Snyder said. “We said to [Dubrow] and [Pavone] that we wanted them to be in the Top 20 after the first mile. They passed me when they were a mile in and they were 17th and 18th. Anna kind of hung on in her first race back from injury and she finished 20th and Jenna finished 13th. It was perfect. They did exactly what we asked them to do.”
Kellar crossed as the 35th overall finisher for the men’s squad with a mark of 26:08 on the men’s eight-kilometer course.
Sophomore Janie Augustyn and freshman Gwen Porter chipped in third and fourth place finishes for the Owls with respective times of 23:53 and 24:22. The 19th overall finish for the women marked the highest in program history in the Paul Short Invitational.
“Gwen came out and ran with us this year and walked on after going to school as a regular student last year, and suddenly she’s our number four girl,” Snyder said. “She ran a great race. With Janie, we were really happy with how she moved forward. The whole women’s side executed the plan that we asked them to execute and I was really happy with it,”
Redshirt-sophomore Alex Izewski checked in well behind Kellar as the team’s second finisher at 27:11, while sophomore Will Maltin followed up at 27:36.
As can happen in a race of hundreds of people, particularly at the start of Lehigh’s course, the men found themselves jammed toward the back of the pack in the start, and could never push forward to where they were expected to be, Snyder said.
“In a big race like this with a lot of people around you, it can back up pretty quickly,” Snyder said. “When there’s too many people in front of you, it means you didn’t go out hard enough. We didn’t get out well. We were in a position when if we needed to move up, we couldn’t.
“It was disappointing from the guys side today, but they’re a young group and it’s something to learn from,” Snyder added. “From their group today, four of the seven guys were running their first 8K. We’ll learn from it but we have to get better, there’s no doubt about it.”
Right away, the heat proved to be a dominating factor throughout the day. Several runners in all collegiate races had to be taken to an area hospital due mostly to dehydration, and as a result, the high school slate of races set to go off later in the afternoon were cancelled.
Both squads will head back to the trails for the next two weeks before a test at the Lafayette Invitational Oct. 19.
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @daParent93.