Columbia ran like a pride of Lions in taking third in the men’s Gold race — the elite division — on Friday at the Brooks Paul Short Invitational on Lehigh’s campus in Bethlehem, Pa. Junior Spencer Leighton was the first Light Blue runner to finish (24th in 24:49). Within 16 seconds, junior Mike Murphy (27th), senior Kyle Merber (29th), senior Justin Heck (34th) and sophomore Nico Composto (42nd) crossed the finish. No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 22 Georgetown were the only teams to finish ahead of the Lions.
“Overall, I was very pleased,” said Coach Willy Wood. “We came in expecting to do well and that was certainly our hope. But to beat four teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the nation [Villanova, Syracuse, Providence and Virginia], that’s certainly a great indication of what’s hopefully going to be a very good season for us. As a team overall, we ran absolutely phenomenally. The guys were very pleased with it, our coaching staff was very pleased with it and I think it’s a great start for us.”
Brown was seventh, followed right behind by Dartmouth and Harvard. Crimson sophomore James Leakos was the first Ivy finisher, taking fifth in 24:14. Close behind were both Dan Lowry of Brown (sixth) and Ethan Shaw of Dartmouth (eighth). Harvard’s Billy Orman was the first Ivy freshman to complete the eight kilometers, taking 32nd in 24:58. The individual champion was Paul Chelimo of N.C.-Greensboro.
Dartmouth All-American Abbey D’Agostino was the Ivy women’s star on the day, finishing fourth overall in 20:22, 12 seconds behind winner Bogdana Mimic of Villanova. Her Big Green finished eighth as a team while the battle for the top spot among the Ivy squads was between Yale and Cornell. Separated by just four points, 205-209, the Elis, paced by junior Elizabeth Marvin and sophomore Liana Epstein, earned honors.
Cornellian Katie Kellner was the second Ivy Leaguer to finish behind D’Agostino, taking 13th in 20:57.
The overall team battle was an intra-conference contest between Big East rivals Providence (first, 101), Villanova (second, 104), Syracuse (third, 125) and Georgetown (fourth, 141).
The 12th-ranked Princeton Tigers took third at the Notre Dame Invitational, behind nationally ranked BYU and Florida and ahead of No. 3 Stanford. Princeton senior Donn Cabral was second overall, just one second behind champion Miles Batty of BYU. Orange and Black teammates Brian Leung (14th) and Sam Pons (25th) provided Cabral support.
On the women’s side, All-American Alex Banfich paced the Tigers to an eighth-place finish in South Bend, finishing 13th overall in a large talented field, 25 seconds behind champion Silje Fjortoft of SMU.