Unranked Dartmouth runs tough
By: Dan Gordon
With many of the best teams in Division I in attendance, the 39th annual Paul Short Invitational kicked off the unofficial start to the collegiate XC season this weekend, as 37 teams brought their “A” squads out for the first time.
In the men’s Gold race, many anticipated a close race coupled with fast times. Comprised almost entirely of long stretches of freshly mowed grass, the course does have the ability to be run lightning fast, a fact proven 3 years ago by UNC’s Ryan Hill (23:40 in 2009).
Much to everyone’s chagrin, anyone expecting lighting just needed to look up, as torrential downpours soaked the course hours before the gun went off, turning the long rolling hills into 400 meter slip & slides.
Running with the likes of nationally ranked teams such as Villanova, Georgetown, and Princeton, the best teams New England had to offer made the trek down to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to show they too could hang with the big boys.
Unranked Dartmouth turned in what many consider the surprise of the day.
Not content with seeing their female counterpart (Abby D’Agostino) have all the glory, the Dartmouth men’s cross country team turned some heads by scoring 175 points and finishing fourth in an extremely deep field of 37 teams. Villanova (#22 in D1) took the team title, scoring a ridiculous 69 points, and placing three runners in the top 10. [Note: See full results for the men's gold race here.]
Former New England mile champ Will Geoghegan led the way for the Big Green, placing fifth overall with a 24:15. Joining Geoghegan were teammates (and former Massachusetts H.S. standouts) John Bleday and John Gault, who finished 23rd and 30th, respectively. Cornell Senior Nick Wade, another Massachusetts product, had a fantastic day for the Big Red, securing a 15th place finish and proving that middle distance runners can in fact, run cross country.
Also in the top 30 was UMass Lowell’s Jeff Veiga, who finished 19th after hammering the first mile, a move that put him in third place, a step behind Bleday and Geoghegan. Two years removed from a third place finish at the NCAA D2 Cross County Championships, Veiga looks to be in fantastic shape after red shirting last year with an injury.