Sophomore Hannah Leskow and freshman Stephanie Hayes lead the pack of runners in their dual meet against Lafayette College on Sept. 19 in Easton. The Lehigh men and women will compete in the Paul Short Run on Friday at Goodman Campus. (Courtesy Don Paul)

Lehigh cross country to attempt to make history again at Paul Short Run

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In last year’s Paul Short Run, Lehigh’s cross country team made history.

Then a junior, Elizabeth Weiler ran a personal best time of 20:28, while finishing 17th overall in the women’s college gold, one of the event’s races. Her time was the fastest run by a Lehigh woman since 2001. Her team placed 29th out of 38 teams, a finish the team is looking to improve on in this year’s run.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the annual Paul Short Run beginning Oct. 2. This will be the 42nd running of the event, which takes place on Lehigh’s Goodman Campus. Lehigh will host over 220 high schools and colleges from around the nation. There are 14 total events, six of which are for high school runners.

The men’s team finished in ninth place out of the 42 that competed last year. Ryan Mahalsky, ’15, came just one second shy of breaking the Lehigh men’s record in the men’s college gold race currently held by Tyler Mueller, ’13.

The men’s team is focusing on this race to prove it can be a championship contender.

“We have a chance to compete against some really heavy hitters, which will only help us in the long run,” junior Ryan Cooney said. “This is our chance to make a statement.”

He also added how underwhelming the team’s performance was at the Patriot League meet and how the team is working to get back to its championship ways. It finished first place in 2012 and second the year after.

Cooney also spoke about how close the team is.

“I believe that everyone on this team is extremely important,” he said. “I think that our strength lies in the fact that we have a large group of guys who care about each other and the team’s success above all else.”

Coach Todd Etters is also pleased with how the team is looking so far this season.

“The team is ready to be tested, as we have won our first two meets of the season with perfect 15-50 scores against Lafayette and LaSalle,” Etters said.

The runners look forward to this event every year because of the competition it brings.

“Paul Short is one of the largest cross country meets in the nation and we’re lucky to have it here at Lehigh,” Senior Evan Hardy said. “Paul Short for us this year is our first real competition where we’ll be going up against many respectable programs. This is our first chance to run against Patriot League and Mid-Atlantic teams. I expect most of our guys to get pulled along to some personal records for the course as we put ourselves out there as a team.”

The meet will take place Friday, Oct. 2 at 9:30 a.m.

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