EMU Runners Finish Strong At Paul Short

Diego Avila finished with a personal best at the Paul Short Run. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Diego Avila finished with a personal best at the Paul Short Run. (photo by Scott Eyre)

After a three-week break from races, the Eastern Mennonite men's and women's cross country teams headed north for the 44th annual Paul Short Run in Lehigh, Pa. Both the men and women had noteworthy performances.

The run itself is the largest intercollegiate cross country meet in the nation with over 6,000 high school and college athletes competing.

Of the six college races, there are three men's and women's tiered runs starting with the Gold Races, followed by the Brown Races and the White Races. EMU men competed in the White Race 8k while the women completed the White Race 6k.

Interim head coach Hannah Chappell-Dick was very proud of both team's performances.

"The big story of the day was EMU's smart pacing," commented Chappell-Dick. "Every single runner who competed improved on their season-best performance."

On the men's side, five runners competed and finished to receive a team score for the first time; in doing so they beat several other Division III programs, putting together 884 points and finishing 29th out of 36 universities.

Sophomore Diego Avila (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) led the team and ended with an incredible personal record coming in at 28:22. Freshman Justice Allen (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) finished shortly after with a time of 28:38.

Junior Derrick Chirinos (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) also ended with a new personal best after completing the race in 29:59, just breaking the 30 minute mark for the first time. 

"The men were 34th at the 1 mile, finishing 29 by the end," said Chappell-Dick.

For the women, senior Michaela Mast (Broadway, Va./Eastern Mennonite) proved once again that despite being in her first year of collegiate running, she is a very strong competitor who is constantly striving to make an impact.

"Michaela had a big breakthrough and showed that she is ready to mix it up with some of the top athletes in the region," said Chappell-Dick.

The women put together 359 points to finished 14th of 32 teams. Mast led the charge, taking 17th overall in 23:12. Sophomore Elizabeth Nisly (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) was 59th with a time of 24:05.

Laurie Serrell (Harrisonburg, Va./Harrisonburg) came in at 24:38, finishing shortly after Megan Good (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) who completed the race in 24:18.

"Laurie showed her strength for the first time this year, finishing close behind our 3rd finisher, Megan Good," noted Chappell-Dick. "The women moved up from 25th place at 1 mile to finishing 14th."

The Paul Short Run was a very solid performance for the Royals. Chappell-Dick applauded how the men's and women's teams finished in the end.

"There were blue and white jerseys passing runner after runner towards the end!"

The Royals have one more race to gear up for the ODAC Championships at the end of the month. They will head to Newport News, Va. in one week, running at the Christopher Newport Invitational on Oct. 7.