BETHLEHEM, Pa.-Khari Bowen
(Monroe, N.J./Monroe Township) notched a first place finish to lead the men’s squad to a third place overall finish, while freshman Lennon Cooper
(Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) led the women to a sixth place mark. Both finishes registered as the top team placement in MU history at the Paul Short Run, as both teams ran in the “Brown Race” at Lehigh University.
Bowen became the first ever Hawk to place first overall at the Paul Short Run, running the course in 25:04 to place atop nearly 400 competitors on the 8k course. He was trailed by Alex Leight (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge), who placed 17th at 25:50. Domenick D’Agostino (Wallington, N.J./Wallington) finished just seconds behind Leight at 25:56, and senior Pat Ryan (Leonia, N.J./Leonia) ran a 26:17. Anthony Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Matawan) was the fifth Hawk to cross the finish line at 26:48, and Tommy Darlington (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem) came across with a time of 27:20. Freshman Matt Nelson (Barnegat, N.J./Barnegat) rounded out the MU top-seven with a time of 27:38. The men's team had a top five average time of 25:59, second in school history and the Hawks' best at Lehigh since 1998.
"Khari executed the race plan perfectly and certainly earned the win today,” said Head Coach Joe Compagni. "The men's team battled the elements and a crowded field very well, and they are getting a little stronger each time out."
The Monmouth men finished third with 158 points, behind first place Princeton (94 points) and Albany (133 points). Among teams the men finished in front of included MAAC foes Canisius (170 points) and Marist (332 points). The women overall scored 308 points, good for a sixth place finish, behind first place Holy Cross (176 points), Shippensburg (184 points), Haverford (225 points), Dickinson (252 points) and the University of Maryland (256 points). They cleared The College of New Jersey by 43 points.
Individually for MU, Cooper was the first Hawk to finish for the second straight race, as she led MU at the Monmouth Invitational two weeks ago. She placed 17th overall on the 6k course with a time of 22:14. The Monmouth freshmen ran strong again, with four newcomers finishing in the MU top-seven. Kristen Rodgers-Erickson (High Bridge, N.J,/Voorhees) was one of them, racing the track in 22:57. Both Cooper and Rodgers-Erickson ran under the MU course record. Senior Danielle Branco (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge) was about a half minute back of that, with freshman Rachael Baker (Hanson, Mass./Whitman Hanson Regional) coming in four seconds behind Branco at 23:29. Amanda Eller (Millville, N.J./MIllville) and Jenna Cupp (Newark Valley, N.Y./Newark Valley) crossed just three seconds apart, at 23:31 and 23:34 respectively. Monmouth’s top-seven was rounded out by Nina Poccia (Morristown, N.J./Pope John XXIII), who ran the course in 24:12.
"It was not the race we expected on the women's side as a team, but they are learning how to compete in every situation and we certainly had several outstanding efforts," said Compagni.
Both cross country teams return to action in two weeks at the Princeton Invitational on October 19th at the West Windsor Fields in Princeton, N.J. The races are set to begin at 10:30 a.m.