LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State cross country will be the lone Mountain West team at the 44th annual Lehigh-hosted Paul Short Run on Friday, Sept. 29, in Bethlehem, Pa. The Paul Short Run is the largest intercollegiate cross country meet in the nation with nearly 450 colleges and high schools scheduled to compete.
The men's race is slated to begin at 9 a.m. (MT), while the women will run at 9:45 a.m (MT) at the Goodman Campus Cross Country Course.
"I hope we can all believe in each other and push through adversities in the race," said senior Dillon Maggard. "This is a great opportunity, considering we are the only Mountain Region team, and we are somewhat flying under the radar because we don't usually race teams out east."
On the men's side, Utah State will join three nationally-ranked programs as Iona (No. 10), Georgetown (No. 17) and Columbia (No. 28) are all scheduled to race. The Gaels won the team title at last year's Paul Short Run.
"This is our first major stepping stone in trying to 'be the first' Utah State team to make it to nationals," Maggard said. "We share a goal of wanting to score in the top four in the meet, which will allow us to score points for an NCAA bid."
Last year, the men's team placed eighth at this event, with Maggard placing fifth in the men's 8-kilometer run to pace the Aggies. As for the women, last season the team placed 10th and was led by Bailee Parker's 24th-place finish in the 6-kilometer race.
"I'm very confident that on the women's side there's no reason we shouldn't come away with the win," said junior Alyssa Snyder, who already has two race title's under her belt this year. "These ladies have been looking strong and working exceptionally well as a group, and that's showed both against BYU a few weeks back, and every day in practice."
Three other nationally-ranked programs will join the No. 21-ranked Aggies, as Villanova (No. 15), Georgetown (No. 23) and Mississippi State (No. 24) will all compete at the event. Yale, last year's race-winner, won't be competing this year.
"This is a great opportunity for us to move up again in the national rankings, as we'll be competing against a few more top teams and show on a larger stage what we're capable of," Snyder said. "It's still early in the season, so we have a lot more time to continue improving and moving up, but I know we're already in position to shock a lot of people on the national stage."
Admission to the race is free, however there is a $5 cost per car to park.
Links to live stats and race maps are available at UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Utah State track & field and cross country programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggies fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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