Navy Women's Cross Country Places 26th at Paul Short Run
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Navy women's cross country team ramped up its level of competition on Friday morning with racing at the 44th annual Paul Short Run. Taking a 42-team field of national programs, the Mids placed 26th overall. Junior Ali Valenti (Lansdale, Pa.) led the Mids for the second straight meet as she posted a time of 21:03 that ranked 76th of 367 runners.
Racing versus a trio of top-30 USTFCCCA nationally-ranked teams and five more that are amongst the Mid-Atlantic region's top-15, Navy kept a solid pace throughout the 6K course at the Goodman Campus Cross Country course as the team's top five runners were separated by just 14 seconds at the one-mile mark. As the race progressed the Mids' top three of Valenti, Emily Craig (Fr., Reistertown, Md.) and Grace West (So., Pinehurst, N.C.) stayed close together before Valenti pushed ahead to finish in 76th place. Craig was the second Navy runner to complete the course as she clocked in at 21:34, good for 134th. West was four seconds behind in 138th at 21:38.
Rachel Fairbanks (Jr., Jamesville, N.Y.) was the fourth Mid to finish in 173rd at 21:53 before Josie Korenak (Fr., St. Louis, Mo.) and Karla Mendoza (So., Madison, Neb.) posted identical 22:13 times for 198th and 199th place, respectively.
"I'm pleased with the times the girls ran today," remarked head coach Karen Boyle. "Our best team finish at the Paul Short was ninth in 2015 and we ran faster times with several personal bests today and that got us 26th. That's a credit to the high level of competition that we raced against today.
"Ali, Emily and Grace led the way for us. Right now, Ali's running at a whole new level and it's awesome to see! Every day we're get healthier and deeper for our big meets in October."
In the final team standings, No. 21 Utah State won the crown with 72 points. No. 15 Villanova came in second at 115 ahead of Georgia (121), Queen's University (225) and Princeton (232). Navy was surrounded in the standings by Tennessee (692) in 23rd, Marist (699) in 24th, Albany (706) in 25th and Elon (744) in 27th.
The Mids will have a week off from competition before going head-to-head with Army for the 2017 Star in Wappingers Fall, N.Y. on Saturday, October 14.