BALTIMORE – After two weekends away from competition, the UMBC cross country teams return to the course on Saturday at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh University. The race at LU's Goodman Course is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m.
The Retriever men look to continue their strong early season form after claiming the top spot at the America East Pre-Conference Meet at Binghamton on Sept. 7 and then earning a top-three finish at the Navy Invitational the next weekend.
Junior Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir) paced the team and the field at the pre-conference race, crossing the 8k finish line with the second-best time in course history (25:33.1). For his efforts, Schuler was named the America East Performer of the Week. He followed it up the next week by finishing 20th and scoring during UMBC's third-place finish in Annapolis.
Sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) has gotten off to a hot start as well, leading the Retrievers across the line at Navy, finishing in 11th overall, after taking fourth in upstate New York. He recorded a career-best time at the race at Navy, finishing in 24:54.90, the fourth-fastest time in UMBC history. Seniors Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) and Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley), as well as sophomore Redatu Semeon (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone), have also scored in both of UMBC's two meets this year.
The women have also picked up two top-five team finishes behind sophomore Nicole Dawson (Jessup, Md./Hammond), who has elevated her running from consistent scorer to leader, pacing the Retrievers at both Binghamton and the Salty Dog Invitational. The second-year athlete led the squad for the first time in her career with an 11th-place finish at the America East race and then jumped to sixth all-time in school history with a 6k time of 21:58.88 in Annapolis.
Senior captain Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) has continued to lead by example, scoring in each meet in 2013. Mezebish ran a career-best 6k time of 22:00.77, the seventh-fastest in Retriever history, during her 18th-place finish in Annapolis, while freshman Sarah Zielinski (Boonsboro, Md./Boonsboro) has burst onto the scene with two scoring runs, including the eight-fastest 6k run in school history at Navy (22:11.12).
Note: Lehigh's Goodman Course will also serve as the race course for the 2013 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional to be held on Nov. 15.