Cross country team showcases up-and-coming talent despite loss to Lehigh

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Photo by Courtesy of PaulPortraits

Seniors Becky Hartman and Rachel Hurley lead the pack during the Lafayette-Lehigh dual meet women’s race on Friday Sept. 16. Hartman went on to win the race.

In their second meet of the season, the Lafayette Cross Country teams headed to Bethlehem where they took on rival Lehigh this past weekend.

The team has a brand new look, as they have added many freshmen on both sides. The women put in eight new runners and the men added five. 

“This season, I am most excited to see how the team does against the rest of the Patriot League because we have a lot of strong freshman runners who are just getting started as well as upperclassmen who are continually improving,” sophomore Sara Tippin said.

Beginning the day, Lehigh’s women’s team won by a score of 34-23 in a close matchup. For the men, the Mountain Hawks trounced the Leopards with a score of 40-17.

Senior Becky Hartman was the overall top finisher for the 25-runner field women’s race with a time of 22:04.oo. Classmate Rachel Hurley finished in fourth 27 seconds later. Two other teammates had top 10 finishes: junior Emma Lorey in eighth and freshman Elizabeth Borah in ninth.

“I wanted to be right up with the top girls from the start, and I think the team did a really good job with that too,” Hartman said. “We ran right behind Lehigh’s top two girls for the first mile or so to drift off of them and then started to make our move. I wanted to break away so it didn’t come down to a kick at the end, and was able to separate from the others at the hill a little before three miles.”

On the men’s side, sophomore Emil Arangala finished fifth overall, while junior Alex Gent finished sixth. Behind them came sophomore AJ Sanford in eighth and freshman Titan Casey in ninth.

Leopard freshmen from both the men’s and women’s teams finished in the top ten.

“As a team we should go into races with more confidence as we race against bigger schools because we need to remember that even though we are a smaller team, we still have the same drive and ability to be competitive with these schools,” Tippin said.

Given the new talent within the Lafayette program, team leadership has been key for all the runners to stay composed. Tippin, who finished in 25th place, noted that the team spirit really helped her during the race.

“Although I did not feel my best during the race, I still had a strong finish because I was cheered on by all my teammates throughout the race, and especially in the home stretch,” Tippin said.

The cross country team will continue their season next Friday, Sept. 30 as they head to the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.