Lehigh women's Cross Country team practices for the Paul Short run, Oct. 1, 2014. The Paul Short Run will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4.

Lehigh’s Cross Country teams prepare for annual Paul Short Run

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The men and women’s cross country teams are preparing for their annual Paul Short Run to be held Saturday at 10 a.m.

It is the 41st anniversary of this run presented by Asics, with over 400 teams and 5,000 members. All courses start and end north of Goodman Stadium, and the course is available for warm up an hour and a half before the start time.

The Paul Short meet, hosted yearly by Lehigh, is one of the biggest meets for the team. Both college and high school teams are invited to race. All spectators, families and athletes are encouraged to celebrate after in the tailgating section.

According to sophomore Alex Fitzgerald, the team has been preparing for this meet since the beginning of the summer.

“We start off with basic mileage around 90-100 miles per week,” he said. “Then we start workouts, such as mile repeats, progression runs, or fartlek runs.”

Everything from the right, healthy diet to specific mileage amounts matter before a meet as big as Paul Short. The fact that exams are the two weeks before makes it that much more difficult.

Fitzgerald said that the team’s previous couple of meets have been easy, but last week’s was difficult.

“Our first two races of the season (Lehigh Valley Invite and Lehigh/Lafayette) were relatively easier races, but our race last week (Roy Griak Invitational) was tough,” he said. “We competed against nationally ranked teams Villanova and University of Pennsylvania.”

Senior Simon Voorhees believes that falling short in the last meet has better prepared them for the Paul Short run.

“Falling short of our expectations made us realize that we have to be more aggressive earlier in the race against our strong competition, which I think we will do on Saturday,” he said.

With several top-rated teams attending the race, some of which are in the top 10 of the Mid-Atlantic region, Lehigh will need to be watching for their colors as they race against these teams in what will be a rainy and cool Saturday.

Freshman Sarah Spring agrees that they will have to watch their competition.

“Our goal this weekend is to run competitively, find our teammates during the race and communicate with them, and look out for the other Patriot League teams that we will be racing against,” she said.

Voorhees believes that they can place well in the upcoming meet.

“As a team we would really like to beat our ninth place finish from a few years ago, which was our best ever (in this race),” he said. “We have a strong team this year and placing in the top five is not out of the question. It will be very close between us and Navy, so we will be watching for their colors during the race.

“Our team has been doing well so far, and the freshmen class has been very impressive. In our last three meets, three different freshmen were chosen for Patriot League Rookie of the Week, which is a big deal,” he continued. “Our top runner Ryan Mahalsky has already been Patriot League Runner of the Week twice in the past three races. This positive momentum is sending us forward to the Paul Short Run.”

Senior Nick Ward looks to the future with big goals in mind.

“We hope to win Patriots for the second time in three years, especially after losing by two points last season,” he said. “After that we hope to rank in the top two to be the first men’s team in Lehigh history to go to Nationals. These are big goals, but nothing out of reach.”

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