Well into this cross country season, the Red is progressing strongly with the Heps championship within sight. This past weekend the Red competed at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh. The women’s team finished as the top team in a field of 40 teams — including the three previous national champions — and the men’s team finished sixth overall in a field of 37 competitive teams.
Women’s cross country coach Artie Smith ‘96 expressed how happy he and his team were to finish in the top spot.
“We were thrilled,” he said. “We beat the three most recent national champions. What was more significant to me was the way in which my team competed. As a coach I was very pleased with how they executed their race strategy.”
According to senior Nick Wade, the environment of a meet like Paul Short was able to bring out the best in both him and his teammates.
“Paul Short is one of the biggest cross country meets in the country,” he said. “It’s awesome to go and compete in that kind of environment. It was nice having our top three guys run together and it turned out well.”
The women claimed the win with a low score of 55 points, nearly half of the 102 points scored by second place William and Mary. The top scorer for the Red was senior co-captain Katie Kellner, who finished second place overall in the 6K course with a time of 20:22. Rounding out the scoring efforts for the women’s team were junior Rachel Sorna finishing in fourth place overall (20:29), junior Emily Shearer in ninth place overall (20:36), junior Devin McMahon in 13th overall (20:46), and senior Katie Rosettie 27th overall (21:00). The Red was the only team to place three runners in the top ten.
For the men’s team, senior Nick Wade was the top scorer, finishing 14th overall with a time of 24:28 for the 8K course. Following behind Wade was junior Max Groves in 20th place overall (24:33), senior Brett Kelly in 27th place (24:38), junior Andrew Herring in 66th place (25:08) and senior Matt McCullogh in 75th place (25:17).
One of the Red’s main goals, besides winning the Heps championship, is to compete at the national level. Smith spoke about the kind of statement that a win like this can make for his team.
“We certainly feel that we belong as a nationally competitive team,” he said. “It’s one step in a larger process. We’re really happy with how it went, but there are still more steps to go in the season.”
Although the men’s team was not the overall winner of the meet, men’s coach Zeb Lang ’03 thinks that his team is starting to realize how well it can compete against strong opponents.
“I think these men are realizing that they can run with very good teams,” he said. “I think [they] now have some confidence in their racing abilities.”
According to Wade, the men’s team is already starting to recognize its competitive swagger.
“I think the men’s cross country team is extremely competitive,” he said. “We’re working hard to make that known.”