Junior runner Bryan Hedman strides to the finish at the Paul Short Invitational on Friday, Sept. 29. Hedman finished 16th with a time of 25:12 over 8,000 meters. PHOTO COURTESY OF LEHIGH ATHLETICS

The Stony Brook men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the 44th annual Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday.

Both teams ended the day with Top-25 finishes among 82 schools. The men’s team finished 11th overall and the women’s team 22nd overall. 

The day started with the men’s 8K open run, which featured seven Stony Brook competitors. Three Seawolves finished within the top 30. Senior Michael Watts finished 10th overall out of 336 competitors with a time of 24:59. Junior Bryce Hedman and sophomore Luke Coulter finished just seconds after, with Hedman placing 16th overall with a time of 25:12 and Coulter with a time of 25:31, placing 28th overall.

The next race was the men’s 8K Gold Race. The Seawolves – with seven runners in the race – improved from last year’s performance of 17th overall, placing 11th. This race involved 40 teams from different colleges competing for the best overall time and total placement. 

Sophomore Cameron Avery led the way for the men’s team, placing 53rd out of 223 – an improvement from his 86th-place performance last year. Avery finished with a time of 24:48, despite running with only one shoe throughout most of the race.

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Sophomore Vann Moffett finished 63rd overall with a time of 24:30. Crossing the finish line at the same time was senior Nick Cruz and sophomore Kyle Kelly, both finishing with a time of 24:41.

The goal going in was for each guy to run a hard and competitive race, I feel most of the squad did that,” head coach Andy Ronan said.

The final race of the day was the women’s 6K Gold Race. The women’s team placed 22nd out of 42 teams. Juniors Alexandria Ortega and Annika Sisson led the way for the women, both crossing the finish line at the 20:53 mark, finishing 53rd and 55th respectively.

Senior Talia Guevara finished 105th overall, 79 places higher than her 184th-place performance in last year’s invitational.

“I am pleased with the women, although we finished two spots below last year’s finish,” Ronan said. “They showed signs that we can be a competitive group by the time the important meets come at the end of October and November.”

Both cross country teams travel to Princeton, New Jersey next for the Princeton University Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 14.

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