By Mike Herold
The Paul Short Invitational tends to be a highly competitive meet, as the Lions found out this week. Neither the men’s nor the women’s squads finished quite as well as they would have liked, but still managed to place fairly high.
The men’s squad finished ninth out of the 33 teams, while the women grabbed 18th out of 39. They did better when compared to other Division III opponents, placing second and seventh respectively, in those fields, but the Lions were far from disappointed with the meet.
“Paul Short is my favorite cross country meet because of its exciting and competitive atmosphere,” senior Cathy Goncalves said, after finishing 32nd overall (first among the Lions) in the 6K race with a time of 22:52.
She was joined in the Lions’ top-five finishers by sophomore Jillian Manzo (103rd in 23:53), junior Anginelle Alabanza (117th in 23:58), sophomore Julie Jablonski (120th in 24:01) and sophomore Tara Nealon (126th in 24:05). Alabanza also noted the competitive spirit.
“Seeing our biggest rivals put us in a competitive mood and reminded us that every single person across the line mattered,” Alabanza said.
The men’s squad finished slightly better, led by seniors Mark Sidebottom (who finished 35th overall in a time of 26:10 in the 8K race) and Andy Gallagher (49th in 26:22). Rounding out their top-five finishers were freshmen Roberto Guiducci (76th in 26:38) and Jon Stouber (81st in 26:42), alongside senior Michael Berti (103rd in 26:57).
“The men’s team ran well, especially the freshmen who stepped up at their first time at Paul Short,” Sidebottom said.
Overall, both teams felt that the meet went better than immediately suggested by the finishes.
“In terms of the women’s team,” Goncalves said, “we fared pretty well but still have a lot of work to do.”
Sidebottom mentioned the team’s success in their own conference.
“We competed well with the teams in our region, which was what we came to do,” Sidebottom said.
The meet was slightly marred by less-than-favorable conditions. Inclement weather had an impact on the way the course ran, and the runners were all too aware of that fact by the end of the day. The Lions, however, refused to let the rain put a damper on their spirits.
“The conditions were tough because it had been raining all day and the course had been torn up by all the races before us,” Alabanza said, “but we worked together and gave it our best effort.”
Afterward, both teams were eagerly looking forward to what lies ahead. After a little time away from the madness of competition, of course.
“We look forward to this next weekend off in order to focus more on our training and championship season,” Goncalves said.
The men’s team appears equally focused on the future — not to mention confident in that future.
“We are looking forward to the next meet,” said Sidebottom, “and then the conference and regional championships that follow.”
The Lions are not in action this week, and are next scheduled to run next Saturday, Oct. 13th, at the Lafayette Leopard Invitational.