The Muhlenberg Cross Country teams didn’t start their seasons with the most positive finishes, but as of late they have both come out of the gate swiftly in their last few meets. The teams started the fall with the Lehigh Invitational where both teams finished third out of the meets three competitors.
Since the Lehigh Invitational, captain Anthony Calantoni ’18 says the team is progressing just as it should be. “I think the team is improving exactly the way our coaching staff envisions,” Calantoni explained. Their next meet was the Division II/III challenge in Kutztown, Pa. The men ranked 11th of 19, receiving a solid effort from stand out Corey Mullins ‘19. On the women’s track the Mules finished 6th of 18 in the Division II/III Challenge. Two lady-mules, Jamie Pacilio ’18 and Emily Davidson ’18 finished within the top 25 performers at the challenge, with Pacilio notching a 9th place finish and Davidson rounding out the top 25.
This past weekend, the Muhlenberg Cross-Country teams took a trip to the Dickinson Long-Short Invitational. Individually, several Mules stepped up and finished strong in their respective meets. Mullins strong performance was the highlight of the meet, as he finished the long race (eight kilometers) at a 25:52.5 tick which ranked second in the whole race. Roughly 43 seconds later Calantoni placed 12th with a time of 26:35.2, which was only thirteen seconds shy of his top time at the Paul Short Run last season. Finally for the men, their last top 15 performance crossed the line 3 seconds after Calantoni when Jason Richwall ’20, finished 14th. Calantoni had high remarks of Richwall. “He is stepping up to the role of being a number three runner. Every year we are looking for the people to replace the ones we lost. In order to do this everyone needs to do their part.“ In the women’s race, the Mules top performer in the 4K was Victoria Cabellos ‘20, who ran a 15:50.5 pace. The best finish in the longer leg for the women was Mallory Snyder ’18, who ran a 24:59.5 6K race.
Looking forward the teams look to improve their hill running according to Calantoni. “Our regional course at Dickinson offers various needs to excel at short intense hills. This will be a key factor in excelling at the right time.” He added another key to ending the season on a winning note means more consistency from the whole team. “We need to work on this closing the gap between our top three runners and our equally important number four and five runners. If we can begin to pack up better and lower our spread at the end of the race, then we can surprise some teams that don’t consider us a threat.” The Mules seemed to do quite a bit of surprising at the Dickinson Long-Short Invitational that Calantoni mentions. The men made some headlines for how they competed against some of the top competition at the meet. They finished one point ahead of Dickinson, who is both regionally ranked by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. They also only finished three points behind Division I Bucknell.
Calantoni can see this Muhlenberg Cross Country season being a success. “I believe there is great potential in this group of athletes. We just need to continue to believe in our training and move forward one race at a time. The team understands the weaknesses that we have and will address them now, so we can perform our best at our regional competition.”
Additional Reporting by Jordy Bonvini