This Saturday, Lehigh University will host the 46th Annual Paul Short Run at their athletic fields. The course will be buzzing all day as the event boasts multiple collegiate and high school races.
Mostly a flat course, this 6k/8k loop offers teams the ability to drop fast times before the second half of their season. In addition, the weather forecast for Saturday shows a high of 62 with most temps in the high 50s at race time, which is essentially running paradise.
This preview will focus on the Gold race, which boasts the premier teams and individuals competing of the meet.
On the men’s side, last year featured a battle where Utah State took down Virginia Tech by three points to defend their title. 2019 should offer the same excitement as 45 teams are represented in the field. Expect to have multiple squads in contention for the win.
To start, Iona (TSR #23) is aiming to be crowned champions after a convincing run at the Iona Meet of Champions. Winner of that race, Johnjack Millar, led the Gaels who also placed three in the top five. This Iona team is pretty scary as their whole top five are all non-seniors, meaning that the main core of this team returns next year. The Gaels are hoping not to wait around though, as they seem like a real threat to earn an automatic qualifying spot in the Northeast region this fall. They should unleash their full group this weekend in an effort to knock out a handful of strong programs.
Hoping to play spoiler to Iona this weekend is regional rival Army West Point. This should be the matchup of the day as it looks like the Northeast region has three teams battling for two automatic qualifying spots this year (Iona, Army, and Syracuse).
Army is coming off of a convincing run at the Battle of Beantown where they placed 2nd to the Syracuse Orange and beat out teams like Stony Brook, Harvard, Washington, and Navy handily. What was interesting to see was that Army’s top four runners of Ben Petrella, Marshall Beatty, Robert Santoyo, and Roman Ollar were able to hang with Syracuse’s top four runners. If this team is able to fix that final scoring spot, they could very easily take down Iona.
It wouldn’t be a preview without mentioning the back-to-back defending champions of Utah State. This team is loaded, returning their whole top five from last year’s win. Led by Adam Hendrickson, James Withers, Luke Beattie, and Roberto Porras, this team is hoping to upset both Army and Iona in an effort to finish on top once again.
However, this year should prove to be more competitive as Montana State will also be in this race. They are a team that already beat the Aggies earlier in the year. Both of these programs are deep, but they will need strong front-runners to up-end Army and Iona.
It is also worth mentioning that Villanova is in the field, but it is unlikely that they race their best runners after competing in last week's Bill Dellinger Invite. If they do end up racing their top guns, then they could walk away with the team title. But for now, we will assume that they’re resting for their next meet (Pre-Nats).
Last but not least, we need to show some love for Adams State (TSR-D2 #3). This team, led by Isaiah Rodarte, has been a D2 powerhouse for years now. They are always at the top of the results when they fly out to run at Paul Short. This team doesn’t look as elite as years past, but I'm sure they will pop off something impressive and make me look foolish. They may be in Division Two, but don't dismiss the Grizzlies from the team conversation...they could win the whole thing.
On the individual side, expect a clash between Johnjack Millar (Iona), Jake Brophy (Navy), Alex Masai (Hofstra), and the dominant Coastal Carolina brothers, Adriaan and Nadeel Wildschutt. All five of these men have already that they are some of the nation’s top individuals.
After finishing 2nd at the Battle of Beantown, Jake Brophy (Navy) hopes to keep the momentum rolling against another set of stiff competition. He is currently ranked at #50 in our XC Top 50.
Meanwhile, Johnjack Millar has proven himself on the international stage. After winning the Iona Meet of Champions, we feel rather confident that he could be in the mix late in this race.
Then we have the Wildschutt brothers. They were some of the best 10k runners in the country last spring and are known for asserting an aggressive pace in nearly every race they toe the line for. They aren't always the most consistent, but if they can get form a large enough gap, then this will be their race to lose.
Finally, we have Alex Masai, last year’s CAA champion who owns a 13:53 5k PR. He will hope to demonstrate his ability to turn fast track times into cross country success. He is my under-the-radar pick to make some noise.
1. Iona Gaels
2. Army West Point Black Knights
3. Montana State Bobcats
4. Adams State Grizzlies
5. Utah State Aggies
1. Nadeel Wildschutt (Coastal Carolina)
2. Alex Masai (Hofstra)
3. Adriaan Wildschutt (Coastal Carolina)
4. Johnjack Millar (Iona)
5. Jake Brophy (Navy)
6. Jamie Dee (Iona)
7. Benjamin Petrella (Army)
8. Quinn Cooney (Dartmouth)
9. Collin Buck (Montana State)
10. Isaiah Rodarte (Adams State)
On the women’s side, Georgetown (TSR #19) heads into Lehigh as the favorites. The Hoyas started their season off on a high note by steamrolling Penn State at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational. Georgetown placed five in the top eight and was led by senior Madeline Perez. The Hoyas are hoping to reclaim the national spotlight that has left them over the past couple of years. A convincing win could validate Georgetown as a legitimate national contender.
Georgetown’s top challenger looks to be the Princeton Tigers (TSR #22). One of the favorites to win the Ivy League, the Tigers are also coming off of a solid team performance where they placed four runners in the top five at a lower-stakes meet. They should be unloading their full squad and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them in 1st place at the end of the day. Led by junior Melia Chittenden, the Tigers as a whole will need to push up further to the front of the pack to have a chance to win.
Another team to watch is the Villanova Wildcats. Although they lost a handful of contributors to transfers and graduation, they seem to have rebounded (slightly) with Lydia Olivere at the helm. This young team will be tested, especially with this being their first significant meet of the season. This race should help dictate if the Wildcats are contenders or pretenders.
Individually, this looks to be an awesome race with a high level of talent. To start, we have Lotte Black (Rhode Island) who is a 1500 meter specialist who placed 4th at NCAA’s this past spring. She recently ran at the Battle of Beantown where she placed 4th overall behind three TSR ranked ladies. Lehigh being a flat course should only help her given her track accolades. If this race comes down to a kick, Lotte Black should be the person who finishes in 1st.
Next, we have the Drop sisters from Georgia. Jessica (TSR #19) and Samantha (TSR #32) boast incredible PR's and should be considered the two favorites going into the race. Jessica finished 2nd in her last race by 0.5 seconds, so she should have a chip on her shoulder. If she has done her scouting correctly, she won’t want to leave it to a kick with Lotte in the field.
Samanatha Drop has a history of struggling with injuries, but she seems to be healthy and fit after taking home the win at the Bulldog Invitational in late August. It's been over a month since her last race, but she could be a major factor in this meet alongside her sister.
Also competing is Brogan MaxDougall (Queen’s University). Last year’s champion as a freshman, MaxDougall should be considered as one of the favorites going into this race. The former Pan Am junior XC champion and Commonwealth youth bronze medalist, MaxDougall has the credentials to go back-to-back in this loaded meet.
Last but not least, we have Madeline Perez of Georgetown who will be trying to secure the fewest points possible with lofty team goals in the back of her mind. Her credentials might not be as strong as some of the other top women that we have mentioned, but she is my dark horse to make it into the top five.
1. Georgetown Hoyas
2. Princeton Tigers
3. Villanova Wildcats
4. Dartmouth Big Green
5. Eastern Michigan Eagles
1. Brogan MaxDougall (Queen’s University)
2. Jessica Drop (Georgia)
3. Lotte Black (Rhode Island)
4. Madeline Perez (Georgetown)
5. Lydia Olivere (Villanova)
6. Samantha Drop (Georgia)
7. Melia Chittenden (Princeton)
8. Grace Mancini (La Salle)
9. Alyssa Aldridge (Georgetown)
10. Hannah Reinhardt (Albany)