After a three-week break from competition following a second-place performance at the Little Three Championship, the women’s cross country team traveled to Bethlehem, Penn. on Oct. 5 to compete at the 46th Annual Paul Short Run at Lehigh University. The Paul Short Run is a 6K course, with several more runners competing than in typical races. The slightly longer course and the sheer multitude of people created an atmosphere that was both hectic and exciting.
“Paul Short is such a huge and crazy meet with hundreds of runners, so it was a little bit daunting standing at the start line,” said Sara Greene ’23.
Despite the course being initially daunting, several Cardinals were able to exhibit powerful performances.
The Cardinals placed 15th out of 42 teams, recording 455 points. Out of the 328 runners, three of the top 100 were Wesleyan team members. The results are not as successful as they were last year, when Wesleyan placed 8th out of 43. Despite this regression, individual members of the team were able to find success.
Sara Pinsonault ’20 continued her strong season by coming in first for the Red and Black. She made a personal best time of 22:05.8, with an extremely speedy average mile pace of 5:55.4. She was the 47th runner and the only Cardinal to make it into the top 50. Her time is a major improvement on her performance last year, when she completed the 6K at 22:56 as the 55th runner.
Following close behind was Becky Lopez-Anido ’21 in 59th place with a time of 22:13.6, which was a solid continuation of the success she found at the Little Three Championship three weeks before. Greene came in third for the Cardinals, completing her first collegiate 6K with an impressive time of 22:39.0.
“It was really exciting,” Greene said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect on race day, so I went in optimistic and focused. I don’t remember much of the race honestly, but I was shocked when I saw the time I ran.”
First years Miranda Graves and Mariah Saunders followed Greene’s effort, coming in fourth and fifth for the Cardinals in their first collegiate 6Ks. They crossed the finish line with times of 22:49.5 and 22:58.1, respectively.
After the team’s last race, the Little Three competition in September, head coach John Crooke said that the most important factor going into the rest of the season would be how quickly the first years develop. Based on the results from this weekend’s run, it seems that the first years are improving rapidly. This bodes well for the rest of the season, as the team is quite young overall.
Team culture and bonding continues to be a crucial part of the team’s process in achieving success. The women are dedicated to getting closer to one another and continuing to be supportive and encouraging teammates.
Greene emphasized that a large positive part of her experience racing last weekend was that she got to spend the night in a hotel with her teammates before the race.
“I had never stayed over anywhere the night before a race,” she said. “It was a lot of fun to be with my team the entire night.”
The Cardinals have a short break from racing and will continue their season on Oct. 19, when they will travel to New London for the Connecticut College Invite. The race begins at 11 a.m. and will be an exciting opportunity for the women to showcase their growth.
“I’m looking forward to more races and getting closer with my teammates,” Greene said. “We’re working hard every day, whether it is at lift, doing core, on the course, or on the road. We love supporting each other and want everyone to run fast while feeling good! Hopefully we’ll continue to have a successful season.”
Annie Roach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.