Carson, Gryphon women 2nd at Paul Short, as men finish 5th
Lehigh, PA - With over 80 teams and nearly 5,000 athletes the
Brooks Paul Short Run at Lehigh University is annually one of the
largest cross country meets in North America. The race is so large
that organizers have been forced to divide the field into four
separate races per gender. Among the 80 teams were several of the
top teams from all three divisions of the NCAA, as well as Canada's
top ranked University of Guelph Gryphons. The Gryphons had placed
seventh and eighth for the men and women respectively last year;
this year's teams had visions of a podium finish.
The men were the first to go and like last year the Gryphons trio of Kyle Boorsma, Matt Brunsting and Allan Brett quickly moved to the front. They were part of a large pack as the field moved past the first mile in a quick 4 minutes and 44 seconds. Three kilometres was passed in under nine minutes as there was still 25 runners in the lead group. A big pack of Iona, Indiana, North Carolina State athletes were in the group, along with the three Gryphons. Teammate John Parott was just off the lead pack in about 40th. Over the next three kilometres the pack would gradually dwindle as the pace continued to increase. Brunsting was the first Gryphon to crack followed by Boorsma and Brett. As they came through 6k, Brett and Boorsma were still in the top twenty; although off the lead pack, with Parrott, running the race of his life moving up on Brunsting both in the top 40. The success of a cross country team is often determined by a team's fifth man; with strong support up front, second year athlete Rob Jackson, fourth year veteran Rob Koziarski and rookie Alex Hinton were trying to do their part to close out the team's scoring all on pace for lifetime bests at the six kilometre mark.
With Indiana, Iona and NC State with ten of the first thirteen between them, it was apparent the Gryphons were in a battle for fourth. Coming into the home stretch Brett and Boorsma were kicking together in no man's land just off the lead pack but in front of fast charging pack. They would wind up 16th and 19th respectively, with Brett narrowly missing dipping under the 24 minute barrier running 24 minutes and 1 second with Boorsma four seconds back. Parrot would be the Gryphons' next scorer, slicing over a minute off his time from last year as he finished 34th in 24 minutes and 26 seconds with Brunsting six seconds back of him in 45th. Jackson would finish as the team's crucial fifth man over 20 seconds faster than last year placing 97th, with Koziarski next in 25 minutes and 4 seconds followed by Hinton in 25 minutes and 16 seconds. All of the Gryphons' runners registered lifetime bests for the eight kilometre distance. The team's score of 209 placed them an outstanding fifth place as they were nipped by Navy by a scant five points. It was the Gryphons' best ever finish at the Paul Short Run and the team's average time of 24 minutes 24 seconds was the fastest in Gryphon history.
Like the men a trio of Gryphon women also quickly established themselves at the front of the field. As the group came around through the mile which was passed in 5 minutes and 26 seconds, Lindsay Carson was in the front row of a group of over 20 athletes with teammates Rachel Cliff and Courtney Laurie just off the back of this pack. Behind them, the Gryphon pack, which has been so evident in races throughout the season, was once again forming. By three kilometres Carson had separated with a group of ten. Cliff and Laurie were sitting around 25th with five Gryphons sitting just outside of the top 50. Over the next 2 kilometres, Lindsay Furtado, Jess Vanhie and Samantha Beattie all moved into the top 50 and as they entered the final stretch all three gained valuable places as they gained on Laurie and Cliff.
Up front Carson once again found herself in a battle with Nelly Spence of Shippensburg, Last year the two athletes had finished second and third respectively, separated by a mere second. This year they would each move up one spot as they finished in the same order with Spence defeating Carson by two seconds running 19 minutes and 58 seconds to Carson's 20 minutes. Behind Carson, Cliff would slice nearly 30 seconds of her time for last year finishing 26th in 21:02 with Laurie right behind in 21:09. A fast closing Jess Vanhie, showed she is back to her All-Canadian form of 2007, as she was next finishing 33rd in 21 minutes and 17 seconds with Furtado closing out the team's scoring in 37th in 21:22. Beattie would run the race of her life finishing 43rd making the Gryphons the only team to have six scorers in the top 50.
Overall every Gryphon girl in the race would equal or improve on their time from last year as they would finish second overall with a team score of 127, falling only to the NCAA's fourth ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. Adding to the incredible nature of the team's run was the fact they were without the services of their freshman superstar and number two runner Geneieve Lalonde, who was resting after last week's race at Western.
The Gryphons will next be in action in two weeks at the Penn State National Invitational, this will be the team's final meet before the OUA Championships at the end of the month at Brock University.
by: Chris Moulton
Media Relations & Communications Officer
University of Guelph, Department of Athletics