Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey competes hard, falls to No. 10 Providence College in overtime -

February 26, 2017

Overtime goal hands UMass hockey its 15th straight loss in regular season finale -

February 26, 2017

Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous gives talk at UMass -

February 25, 2017

Anti-racism workshop teaches tactics to fight oppression in community -

February 25, 2017

Providence power play haunts UMass hockey in 6-2 loss -

February 25, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 10 Providence on Senior Night at the Mullins center -

February 25, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Cross country heads to Paul Short Invitational

In some ways, this Friday’s 36th annual Paul Short Invitational represents a transition in both the Massachusetts men’s and women’s cross country season. Coming two weeks after their only home meet of the season, the invitational will transport the teams out of New England and into Bethlehem, Pa. to compete against some of the strongest cross country programs in the country.

The field is composed exclusively of  Division I programs, including Iona College, a team that has been the National runner up for consecutive seasons in the NCAA championships. Perhaps more importantly for UMass men’s coach Ken O’Brien’s team, is that the race also features five of the top seven teams in the Atlantic 10 conference, in which the Minutemen will look to defend their title, their first since 1995. 

Last season UMass turned in a strong performance and finished sixth in the invitational. Coach O’ Brien described it as the most successful race that the team raced until that point. This year he is looking for similar results, but knows it won’t be easy considering the depth of this year’s field.

“This year’s field is a little bigger and the quality of teams is a little deeper. Any type of a finish in that area would actually represent a type of improvement,” O’Brien said.

Not only is O’Brien aware that this will be his team’s first time competing against such a strong field this season, but he is also conscious of other elements that his team will have to adjust to on the run, literally.

“The reason [the size] is important is because it’s the first time we’re going to see about 40 colleges on the starting line,” he said. “It’s the first time we will put a large number of people at the starting line and that has all types of implications that are a lot different from the last races we have run. It’s [approxminately] 10 times as many people, who are better.”

The Minutemen had a week off after their victorious home meet. Coach O’Brien described it as “relaxing,” as it allowed his team to train without the thought of a race on their mind.

The Minutewomen are also coming off a week of rest, and will head to Pennsylvania to compete on the women’s side of Paul Short Invitational.  The race features 41 teams and, similarly to the men’s field, includes five A-10 teams. 

The Minutewomen finished 27th out of 43 teams in last year’s race, and received a lot of strong contributions from several runners. Karen Roa, ran the 6k in a time of 22:40, and Shiyi Zan lead the team by finishing 58th out of 296 runners, with a time of 21:43. Both runners are integral parts of the team this year, and look to lead the way again. Another runner who looks to continue her success this weekend is sophomore Claire Petit, who in the Minutewomen’s finished in the top 20 in team’s last meet.

The men’s race will kick off at 11:00 a.m on Friday, and the women’s race will kick off shortly after at 11:45 a.m.

Jeffrey Engmann can be reached at jengmann@student.umass.edu

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