BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A well-rested group of student-athletes will be part of a large field Saturday when the Maryland women’s cross country team travels to the Lehigh Paul Short Run at Lehigh University.
Lehigh’s 6-kilometer women’s course winds its way through the campus and the athletics facilities. The look at the course on Saturday is crucial, since the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional will be contested on the same layout on Nov. 15.
“Tomorrow will be our first preview of the NCAA Regional course and also an elevated level of competition,” said head coach Andrew Valmon. “Our women have worked hard over the past few weeks to prepare for the heightened competition at this meet, and we’re excited for a new challenge.
“Lehigh’s course is quick and, by previewing it before the NCAA Regional, our women will be exposed to the terrain and work on their ability to handle a quick start and finish.”
The Terrapins have had three weeks since their last competition – an extra hiatus from the normal two-week layoff between meets. Maryland had some of its top runners compete for the first time this season on Sept. 14 when it placed second at Navy’s Salty Dog Invitational.
“During the extra week of training, we loaded up on some tough workouts to push ourselves mentally and physically in preparation for the upcoming competition,” said Valmon.
Maryland gets another experienced runner back on Saturday when senior Julie Sinkovitz is expected to make her season debut. Sinkovitz is a middle-distance standout on the track and will give the Terrapins another veteran in the lineup.
Freshman Hannah Mansbach has begun her college career with a pair of top-10 finishes. She was seventh at Mount St. Mary’s and fourth at Navy, leading the Terps to the line each time.
Fourteen of the top 15 teams in the current Mid-Atlantic Region rankings by the U.S. Track & Field-Cross Country Coaches Association will get a look at the regional course on Saturday.
Maryland has been 12th in the region in each of the four rankings so far this year.
“Our goal for tomorrow is to continue to see individual improvements and to work on keeping a close spread between our first and fifth runner,” said Valmon.
Five of the top 30 women’s teams in the nation are in the field for the Paul Short Run. Sixth-ranked Georgetown, which won the Paul Short team title last year, joins Cornell (9th), Villanova (11th), Penn State (13th), Princeton (28th) and West Virginia (30th) as nationally ranked squads on the women’s side.
The women’s race is scheduled to get the gun on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.