After a weekend off, the men’s and women’s cross country teams are back at it. The Red is heading to Lehigh to compete in the Paul Short Invitational this weekend.
Without a meet last weekend, the Red had the opportunity to have a hard week of training. Women’s cross country coach Artie Smith ’96 was pleased with how the week of practices went.
“We had a very good week of training,” he said. “After having two very good opening meets, it was good to take an emotional break. I think people are geared up and ready to go into these next few weeks into very competitive meets.”
This extra week of training is also going to allow the Red to be better prepared for the Paul Short Invitational, a meet that will feature top-tier competition, according to Smith.
“It’s a very competitive meet,” he said. “We’re going to see a large field, 40 teams, and close to 400 runners. This is the first meet that we’re going to be running against nationally competitive Division 1 programs.”
The meet is named after Paul Short, Lehigh ’34, a multi-sport athlete who later became a member of the athletics staff at his alma mater from 1938 until his death in 1967, interrupted only by service in World War II. An avid supporter of the Lehigh track and field and cross country programs, this meet was named in his honor.
Smith spoke about how long the Red has been competing in this meet.
“We’ve been to this meet now about 12 out of the 14 years that I’ve been coaching here,” he said.
With the season now in full swing, each meet is leading up to the Heps cross country championships on October 27th at Princeton. Smith touched on how much he stresses that the team take the season one step at a time.
“We’re taking steps in a large process,” he said. “The regular season is important, and I look at it as the steps that take you to the finals. We’re not worried about the finals right now, I’m looking another step in the right direction and to compete well in that kind of competitive environment.”
While the Red is competing in a team sport, there are several strong performers on both teams who are looking to improve themselves as individuals, an improvement that Smith has seen out of his runners from last season until now.
“Our top group, at least 5 or 6, who see themselves doing well individually,” he said. “Each one of them feel that they’re a lot faster than they were one year ago, and I think they all feel that they can do that.”
After strong performances in the first two meets of the season, the Red looks to once again compete for top spots at the finish line at the Paul Short Invitational.