Bethlehem, PA—On Friday, the Williams men's cross country team competed at the 42nd annual Paul Short Run hosted by Lehigh University. This meet is one of the largest in the nation, with more than 5,500 athletes representing over 400 teams from high schools, colleges, and clubs. This massive festival of cross country features more than a dozen races for men and women over the course of the day.
The main collegiate event was the Gold 8k Race featuring a field of 27 teams from all three NCAA divisions. Georgetown University won the meet with a low score of 37 points, and Villanova took second with 56 points. The University of Guelph, from Ontario, Canada, placed third with 160 points. Williams took 13th place to finish as the top team from Division III for the third consecutive year. The Ephs also bested many Division I schools, including UMass, American, Temple, and Tulane.
The individual champion was Villanova's Patrick Tiernan, who crossed the line in 23:55. His teammate Jordan Williamsz was second in 23:58, and Jonathan Green of Georgetown was third in 23:59. The first runner not from Georgetown or Villanova was the Ephs' captain Bijan Mazaheri '16. He took 7th place in a new personal best of 24:09.
"Bijan had a tremendous performance," said head coach Pete Farwell. "He got out quickly from the gun, worked his way into the front pack, and held his ground for the rest of the race. He's on pace for high finishes in the championship season."
Williams' second man was captain Todd Ford '16, who took 80th place in a personal best 25:16. Ben Decker '18 was the Ephs' next finisher, finishing 91st in 25:21. Not far behind were Peter Hale '17 (97th, 25:25), Kyle Kistinger '16 (99th, 25:25), and Noah Williams '17 (100th, 25:26). Each of these runners turned in personal best times and Coach Farwell praised their race tactics. "I'm really excited about this group," he said. "This tight pack was towards the back of the field through the first mile but they moved up steadily and finished with a strong kick."
"Todd's performance today shows how hard he worked this summer," Farwell added.
The Ephs' seventh man for the second week in a row was Liam Simpson '18. He crossed the line in 129th place in a new PR of 25:43. Simpson was followed by Griffin Colaizzi '18 (179th, 26:09), captain Matt Tarduno '16 (207th, 26:28), Austin Anderson '19 (212th, 26:30), and Luke Hinz '17 (237th, 26:56).
"Liam had a great race," noted Coach Farwell. "He's closing in on the two through six group. Matt Tarduno had a PR performance and Austin had a great debut in the 8k."
Four additional Williams runners competed earlier in the day in the Open Race. Zeke Cohen '19 led the way with a 46th place finish in 26:22. Walker Knauss '19 was 53rd in 26:30 and Zachary Dulabon '18 took 57th in 26:32. Lucas Estrada '19 rounded out that group by finishing 70th overall in 26:40.
"Collectively this group has raced just one prior 8k, but they ran with experience today," said Coach Farwell. "They set a great tone for the rest of the team to follow in the Gold Race."
"We saw great team performances against great competition," Farwell concluded. "All in all, we're very happy with where we are at this point in the season."
The Ephs will be back in action on Saturday, October 10 at the James Earley Invitational hosted by Westfield State College. Then, the team will travel to Amherst on October 17 for the Little Three Championship.