Harvard Ninth at Paul Short Invitational

After taking a week off, the Harvard men’s and women’s cross country teams were back in action on Friday at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa. In a 45-team field loaded with the Northeast’s top teams, the Crimson men turned in an impressive ninth-place finish. The women’s squad, hoping to bounce back after a disappointing HYP meet, finished 14th in a deep field that included four of the nation’s 10 top-ranked teams.

After winning the Harvard-Yale dual meet two weekends ago, sophomore James Leakos entered Friday’s race with the intention of once again leading his squad to victory. In a field of over 400 runners, Leakos finished in fifth place with a blazingly fast time of 24:14.

On the women’s side, senior Kailyn Kuzmuk was once again the squad’s top finisher. Kuzmuk placed 73rd with a time of 21:51. Classmate Jeanne Mack was not too far behind, finishing in 83rd place with a time of 22:01.

The rainy weather in Bethlehem on Friday made for less-than-ideal racing conditions. In fact, about 400 meters after the start of the men’s race, a pack of runners slipped in a mud pit, creating an jam as other competitors tried to maneuver around them. A couple of Crimson harriers found themselves behind the fallen pack, and spent a portion of the race making up for lost time.