On Friday, the UConn men’s and women’s cross country teams were back in action as they competed in the 44th Annual Paul Short Run at Lehigh University. Both sides competed in their respected Gold Races, which house the best talent in each race.
The UConn men came in 8th place as a team and the women came in 16th. However, each team’s respective field was loaded with near-ranked or nationally-ranked programs, as well as other strong problems. UConn’s results might not showcase the same dominant and eye-catching headlines as the races earlier in the season, but given the different circumstances they shouldn’t be overlooked.
The first race of the day started at 9:30 a.m. and showcased the UConn women’s team. Led by freshman Brianna O’Brien, the Huskies finished in 16th place out of 42 teams. Out of 368 runners in the Gold race, O’Brien came in the 79th position with a time of 21:05. She would be followed almost instantly by her classmate Mia Nahom, who came one second behind at 21:06.
The Huskies’ season-long trend of finishing in near unison continued, as three more Huskies finished within 20 seconds. Juniors Haley Hasty, Courtney Akerley and Kelsey Swanson made up the trio. Hasty and Akerley both finished with a time of 21:10, with Swanson following soon after with an end time of 21:23. The final two Huskies in the race were sophomore Danielle Jordan and junior Mary Monda Oewl. Jordan finished 15 seconds behind Swanson with a time of 21:38, while Monda Oewl rounded out the Huskies’ group at a clip of 21:52.
The women’s side also competed in the College Women’s Open, where two Huskies finished within the top-100. Sophomore Susan Aneno came in 42nd place with a time of 22:39 and freshman Mackenzie Pais came in 86th with a time of 23:14.
The men’s Gold race started at 11 a.m. and consisted of 40 teams, including many respected ranked and unranked programs. An unranked Utah State team came away with the overall team first-place finish, followed by 17th ranked Georgetown in second place. The Huskies came in eighth place, just ahead of Wake Forest, who finished in ninth place.
The first Husky to cross the finish line was redshirt junior Patrick Begley, who came in 20th place out of 359 runners with an end time of 24:00 flat. Coming eight spots behind, in 28th place, was senior captain Mike O’Donell with a time of 24:08. The next two Huskies to cross the finish line were a pair of juniors: Michael McGonnigle in 52nd with a time of 24:28 and Kyle Brackman in 83rd with a time of 24:43. Sophomore Ian Mickool came in 119th place with a time of 24:57.
"Eighth place was a solid performance for us and our top five all ran in under 25 minutes," said UConn head coach Greg Roy, via UConn Athletics. "We averaged about 40 seconds per man faster than we ever have before."
The UConn women compete next on Oct. 7 in the New England Championship in Franklin Park in Boston, Mass., while the men find themselves with runners in two separate races on Oct. 13. One group of runners will be heading to the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisc., while the other group heads to the Rothenberg Run in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Kenny Beardsley is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.