Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

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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