It had been raining all morning in Bethlehem, P.A., and there were more than 5,500 runners in town that day. They had converged on Lehigh this past Saturday, Oct. 4, for the school’s annual Paul Short Run, a mammoth cross country meet encompassing more than 400 teams from all three NCAA divisions, with even high school teams participating.
The runners, however, were worried about the potential for mud.
Runners from the College were equipped with one-half inch spikes on their shoes when they would normally use one-fourth inch spikes, according to junior Carly Martz. But the effect of the mud turned out to be minimal.
“We were prepared for lots of mud, but it really wasn’t that bad,” Martz said.
“We got lucky, because the rain stopped right before our race,” sophomore Andrew Tedeschi said. “The course was not too muddy, either.”
Martz and Tedeschi led the women’s and men’s teams to ninth and 20th place, respectively. Martz finished 33rd out of 357 runners with a time of 22:36, and Tedeschi finished 41st out of 341 runners with a time of 25:52.
Behind Martz, in 68th place with a time of 22:55, was senior Tara Nealon. She was closely followed by senior Megan Stack, who finished 74th with a time of 22:58. Senior Jillian Manzo came in 86th with a time of 23:07.
Sophomore Laura Straub placed 106th with a time of 23:18. Freshman Allison Fournier finished the race with 23:38, a time that placed her in 136th and broke her personal record. Rounding out the top seven was senior Liz Johnson in 141st place with a time of 23:40.
On the men’s team, sophomore Brandon Mazzarella finished 93rd with a time of 26:18. Senior Jeremy Garrell finished 117th with a time of 26:29. Senior Andrew DeMaria and sophomore Kevin Scott finished within seconds of each other, as well. DeMaria took 150th place with a time of 26:51, and Scott took 154th place posting a time of 26:55.
Freshman Dale Johnson came in 188th place with a time of 27:16 and twelve seconds behind him, while senior Patrick Waite took 201st place.
Large races like the Paul Short can be a challenge to runners – it’s not uncommon for teammates to be split up or get caught up in a cluster of runners and not be able to advance. To improve their chances of getting ahead, the runners try to get in a good position from the starting line.
The women’s team knew they would be split up, but assistant coach Marina Muncan told them to remain relaxed, Martz said.
Martz used the ribbons every woman Lion wore in her hair as points of reference. This practice helped her a great deal in the beginning of the race, Martz said.
But the runners did not let this stop them, as many relished in the competition.
“I was excited, because you have some of the best girls in the country running right alongside of you,” Martz said.
Tedeschi said he enjoys large races because “there’s always someone to run with and someone to catch.”