By Malcolm Luck
Although senior runner Natalie Cooper was competing against 363 other females at the Paul Short Invitational, she was only interested in the top-three.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the cross country teams traveled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to participate in the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh University. The women’s team took 14th place while the men’s team finished in 21st place.
Eager to finish her final season on a strong note, Cooper didn’t miss a beat as she raced to second place in the 6k event. Cooper finished in 21:15, completing the race in a wide margin of 10 seconds before the next competitor. She made a record for the fastest time at the Paul Short Invitational in the College’s history.
On Monday, Oct. 1, Cooper was also named runner of the week by the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
The next top finisher for the Lions was senior Erin Holzbaur, taking 103rd place with her time of 23:34. Finishing one second after was sophomore teammate Gabby DeVito, earning her 107th and a place in the top-third portion of competition.
Freshman Kelsey Kobus and senior Madeleine Tattory both finished with times of 23:40, followed by junior Hannah Fay and senior Emma Bean who rounded out the day for the Lions with their respective times of 24:23 and 24:33.
Overall, the Lions combined for a total time of 1:55:44 and a total places sum of 447, ultimately earning them 14th place out of 43 teams.
The men’s team lacked dazzling finishes in their 8k race, but consistency among the seven Lions runners earned them a middle-of-the-pack finish in a similar slate of 44 total teams.
First to cross the finish line for the Lions was freshman Nick Falk, earning 84th place in 26:30. Sophomore Matthew Kole and freshman William Mayhew followed close behind in 119th and 125th, respectively, clocking in 26:49 and 26:51.
Rounding out the final three slots were sophomore Robert Abrams, senior Quinn Wasko and junior Mike Zurzolo. Abrams finished in 27:18, which was good for 183rd. Wasko followed in 212th in 27:33 and Zurzolo crossed the line to end the day for the Lions in 27:57, which was good for 250th place.
The Lions combined for a total time of 2:14.25 and accumulated a count of 651 for total places, good for 21st place.
Next week, both teams will travel north to Newark, New Jersey to compete in the NJIT Highlander Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 6. The women are scheduled to run at 11:00 a.m. while the men will begin at 11:50 a.m.