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As we head into the main month of competition, we also venture to some of the most competitive races of the season.  These last few years, the Ivies have really presented their A-games at these meets, besting some nationally-ranked teams and earning some precious qualifying points for NCAAs.

We begin this weekend’s competition with the 59th annual Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.  Princeton and Penn will be sending their A-teams to the land of the Irish, where they hope to continue the tradition of strong Ivy finishes.  The Columbia men won the men’s team title here last year, besting the 2012 national champions and earning their highest national ranking in school history in the process.  Princeton has had a good history at this event, as they finished in 3rd last year, 2nd in 2012, and 3rd in 2011.  Can Penn break onto the national scene in this race?  Letsrun.com seems to think so, as they have Penn listed as dark horse contenders for the HepsXC title and believe they can give at least Princeton a good race.  The Notre Dame Invitational has an online meet program available, listing all of the competitors and providing details about the event.  The event begins today at 3:30pm EST and run until 5pm.  You can follow the meet on twitter using the hashtag #NDInvite.

The 41st annual Paul Short Invitational (hosted by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.) has turned into a HepsXC preview of sorts these last few years as every Ivy League school has sent their harriers to compete on these Gold/Brown/White courses.  This will be true again this year to a certain degree, as Princeton and Penn will be sending their B-teams to Bethlehem.  The last few editions of the Paul Short Invitational have shown the country on how competitive the Ivies really can be.  Back in 2011, the Columbia men finished in 3rd place in the elite Gold team race.  The Cornell women earned the Gold team title in 2012 by finishing 2-4-9-13-27, while Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino won the women’s Gold race.  Last year was especially Ivy dominant, as Ivies claimed the individual titles in both of the elite Gold races (D’Agostino and Harvard’s James Leakos), placed 10 other runners in the top 20 of their respective races, had two men teams finish in the top 5 (Dartmouth 3rd, Harvard 5th), one women team in the top 5 (Dartmouth 2nd), and claimed the Brown race team title (Princeton’s B squad).  Can the Ivies continue to show their strength on Saturday?  Races will begin on Saturday morning at 10am and last through 2:30pm.  Results will be posted on the event’s official website, but you can also follow the event on twitter through @LehighPaulShort.

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