MEET PREVIEWS: Paul Short Run & Washington Invitational

MEET PREVIEWS: Paul Short Run & Washington Invitational

NEW ORLEANS — A lot of attention will be paid to the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational and justifiably so, with 13 ranked teams in attendance including a battle between the top-2 teams in the NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll (Providence and New Mexico).

That goes down on Friday, which leaves Saturday wide open for the Paul Short Run and Washington Invitational to impress with seven ranked teams at the former and six at the latter, in addition to NCAA individual title contenders.

Let’s take a closer look at both the Paul Short Run and the Washington Invitational.

Paul Short Run (Hosted by Lehigh)

Men’s Gold Race: 11 a.m. ET | Women’s Race: 11:45 a.m. ET

ENTRY LISTS: Men | Women

Starting with the men’s race, we’ll see No. 8 Georgetown take on No. 16 Iona, No. 25 Columbia, No. 26 Penn, as well as RV Dartmouth and RV Princeton. Throw in two top-10 teams in NCAA Division II (No. 3 Adams State and No. 8 Shippensburg) and a top-5 team in NCAA Division III (No. 3 Williams), the Gold race has a chance to be a dandy.

From a team standpoint, we could get a good look at what Georgetown and Iona have to offer. The Hoyas named Notre Dame All-American transfer Michael Clevenger, Darren Fahy (5th in the NCAA steeple) and Jonathan Green (5th place at NCAA XC last year), among others. Iona’s entries show 2015 XC All-American Gilbert Kirui (20th place), Chartt Miller (43rd at NCAA XC last year) and Kieran Clements on the roster.

Individually, this could be an ideal place for Adams State sophomore Sydney Gidabuday to shine. Gidabuday was a three-time NCAA DII national champion as a freshman (Indoor 3000/5000, Outdoor 5000) and ran 13:36.83 over 5K at the Mt. SAC Relays in a shocking upset win.

On the women’s side, we’ll see more top-ranked NCAA DII and NCAA DIII teams in attendance than NCAA DI. 19th-ranked Georgetown, No. 22 Penn and No. 29 Yale will be joined by reigning NCAA DII champion No. 2 Adams State and three teams ranked in the top-6 of NCAA DIII (No. 3 Johns Hopkins, reigning champion No. 5 Williams and No. 6 Tufts). It should be a good test for the upstart Quakers, led by Ashley Montgomery, as they’ll face tough competition from a regional opponent in the Hoyas and a plethora of teams from the Ivy League (Yale, RV Columbia, RV Cornell, RV Dartmouth, RV Harvard, RV Princeton).

Cross country fans should see a strong battle individually between West Virginia’s Jillian Forsey (14th at NCAA XC in 2014), UMass’ Heather MacLean (former National Athlete of the Week) and Stony Brook’s Christina Melian (3rd in the Northeast Region last year). That’s in addition to the number of Hoyas that will be in the lead pack.

Washington Invitational (Hosted by Washington)

Women’s Race: 2 p.m. ET | Men’s Race: 2:45 p.m. ET

ENTRY LISTS: Men & Women

Need a reason to get excited about the Washington Invitational?

We could see the debut of three-time defending NCAA XC champion Edward Cheserek, who Oregon coach Andy Powell said is in the best shape of his career at this point of the season.

Want some other reasons?

Cheserek’s third-ranked Ducks toe the line against No. 21 Washington, No. 24 Washington State and No. 29 Colorado State. That means the individual race between Cheserek, Colby Gilbert and the Colorado State duo of Jefferson Abbey and 2016 Griak champ Jerrell Mock could be a lot of fun. Then again, Cheserek could just rout the field.

The women’s race should be good between Pac-12 foes No. 4 Oregon and No. 12 Washington with RV Harvard thrown in for good measure. The Ducks wrote down their strongest lineup to date with Frida Berge, Alli Cash, Georgetown transfer Samantha Nadel and Maggie Schmaedick, among others. The Huskies are expected to race both Katie Knight and Charlotte Prouse. Courtney Smith is the one to watch for the Crimson.

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter should also be among the leaders. Reiter qualified for NCAA XC last year as an individual and finished 46th.