Morgan Kelly led the Harvard women at the Paul Short Meet Friday (Photo Courtesy: Tim O'Dowd).
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In its first out-of-region action of the season, the Harvard cross country team posted a pair of 13th-place finishes Friday at the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh. The men accumulated 421 points, just two points behind 12th-place Duquesne, while the women's total of 414 was just behind 12th-place Vermont.
"I was really pleased with the way both our men and women competed," said director of track and field/cross country Jason Saretsky. "This was another important step for us this season and I am confident we will continue to improve as we move through the season."
For the second straight year, the teams battled muddy course conditions, due to sustained rain in the days leading up to the event. The men placed a pair of runners in the top 50, despite holding their top seven runners out of the competition, showcasing the squad's depth. Kurt Ruegg, running his first race of the season, was the third of four runners to cross the line in a time of 24:37, edging out a rival runner from Cornell in the final steps for a 25th-place finish. Rookie Thomas Purnell turned in a stellar performance in his collegiate debut, placing 41st overall in 24:52, sneaking by Columbia's second finisher by less than a second.
Classmate Christopher Allen shaved four seconds off his 8k time from Sept. 14th's Harvard-Yale meet, crossing the line in 25:37, good for 108th overall. Senior captain Sean Pohorence was the 114th person to cross the line, posting a time of 25:41, and sophomore Andy Gonzalez was just 10 seconds behind in 25:55. Brothers Fred (143rd, 25:55) and Carl Ward (223rd, 26:48) rounded out the top seven for the men.
A trio of runners within the top 70 powered the women to their 13th-place result, fronted by Morgan Kelly. Kelly was the second of four finishers to cross the line in 21:00, sliding ahead of a pair of Cornell runners for a 26th-place result. Viviana Hanley was next to cross for the Crimson, running a time of 21:38, good for 61st, and Alaina Alvaerz's time of 21:47 in her first action of 2012, gave Harvard its third runner in the top 70 of the race.
After notching a victory in the season-opening Nassaney Invitational, senior Briana Jackucewicz came in as Harvard's fourth scorer with a time of 22:09, good for 102nd overall. Another sophomore, Whitney Thornburg, posted a time of 22:43, good for 155th overall, and freshman teammate Selena Pasadyn was a second and a place behind with a 22:44 result. Junior Lauren DiNicola was Harvard's seventh finisher with a time of 23:20.
The Crimson will take a week off following the Paul Short Meet and will be back in action Oct. 12-13 at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational and the Princeton Invitational.