Cross country team takes on Division I competition at Lehigh Invitational

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Cross country runners compete in a meet. Photo by Jem Barney '26

On Friday, Sept. 1, the Muhlenberg cross country team kicked off their season with a successful first race at Lehigh University. After gearing up for the start of the season all summer and working hard during preseason, the team took on the challenge of competing against mostly Division I schools to begin the year. Going against renowned teams such as The University of Pennsylvania and West Virginia University required the team to stay positive and use the competition as motivation.

Lauren House ‘25, junior captain, had a positive outlook on the rivalry, “Competing against [Division I] schools is definitely a great opportunity because it gives you the chance to push yourself and be more competitive than usual. It’s also nice to race against such competitive schools early on so that we’re more ready for that type of competition when we get to the Conference and Regional meet,” House commented.

This kind of mindset paid off for Muhlenberg, as six of the seven upperclassmen who raced improved their times from previous years. Additionally, most of the team’s top finishers were some of the youngest on the team. These runners consist of first-year Maggie Holderith ‘27 and Ava Lundy ‘27, who placed second and third, respectively, for the Muhlenberg women. The top-place athletes from the team also include freshmen Sebastian Montalvo ‘27 and David Seel ‘27, who led the Muhlenberg men in first and second place. Montalvo, furthermore, ran the fastest 6K at Lehigh from a Muhlenberg first-year in the past eight years, coming in at an impressive 19:53.

After such strong performances at Lehigh, the Mules are looking up as they prepare to race at Haverford College this Friday, Sept. 15. Reflecting on the last meet, House stated, “we have a really positive outlook on the season. Now that we have one race done, we know what we need to keep working on as a team as well as individually.” Moving forward, the team is ready to continue to trust their training, keep their mindsets strong, and improve next week.

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