Rutgers takes 23rd place at Paul Short Run
The Rutgers men's cross country team returned to Goodman Campus this past Friday for the annual Paul Short Run.
The Knights already raced this course when they took part in the Lehigh Invitational in early September, where they took first place. This time around Rutgers finished 23rd out of 40 teams. Six members of the team finished with personal bests in the 8,000-meter race.
As October begins, the cross country season begins a new narrative. Regional, conference and NCAA championships are just around the corner.
The team needs to prepare to hit its stride with the championship season here. A great way to do that is race against a huge field and get familiar with some opponents.
Teams that the Knights will face in the Mid-Atlantic Championships fared well in the race. Georgetown, Penn and Navy all finished inside the top-10 at the meet. Additionally, Villanova and Lehigh both finished ahead of Rutgers.
First across the line for the Knights was junior Dom Munson, who was able to beat senior teammate Luke Wiley by fractions of a second. They both finished with a time of 24:49 and 95th and 96th overall. Cole Pschunder was the team member across the line. He finished with a new personal best time of 24:55 at 114th overall.
Not far behind was junior Conor Murphy who also had a personal record Friday. Murphy finished with a time of 25:12 and came in 159th place.
To round out the Rutgers scorers were senior Alexander Livernois, freshman Patrick Walsh and senior Trent Brinkofski, who all finished under 27 minutes.
In a field of 359 runners the Knights fared well but not great. The team was unable to stick together within the large field which made it impossible to stick to a pack methodology.
Head coach Mike Mulqueen consistently stresses this issue. If the team wants to be successful through November it needs to be rested at the right times and work together during races.
“Our main goal is always to run together,” Mulqueen said.
That goal is easier said than done.
In a field where you only have 50 runners it can be much easier to stick with your guys. When there are over 300 runners in the field sticking together is seemingly impossible over a 20-minute span.
This is something that may be new to some of the young Knights like Walsh. Learning to cope with the new distance and the magnitude of the race can be difficult for a freshman.
“There really is a learning curve when you get to the collegiate level,” Walsh said.
After this rather disappointing outing by the Knights they will turn their focus to the Metropolitan Championships which take place on Oct. 13th.
The team will get another week of rest but something tells me that this week's preparation will be much different from the week leading up to the Paul Short Run.
The Metropolitan Championships will take place in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, a difficult but familiar course for the Knights.
“Van Cortland is one of the toughest courses I’ve ever run. It’s extremely challenging,” Pschunder said.
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