Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey falls flat in 5-0 loss to Northeastern -

January 20, 2018

UMass women’s track and field takes first, men fourth at Joe Donahue Games -

January 20, 2018

Sanzo: UMass’ game vs. St. Louis is a sign of what it is without its grit -

January 20, 2018

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by Saint Louis, 66-47 -

January 20, 2018

UMass hockey shuts down No. 8 Northeastern with 3-0 win -

January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

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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