Bethlehem, PA -- Competing in a field of 40 teams, the United States Merchant Marine Academy men's cross country team finished ninth overall at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, PA on Friday afternoon.
Despite the muddy and sloppy conditions, the Mariners were able to notch key victories over Catholic and Drew; the only other Landmark Conference schools competing. They also defeated SUNY New Paltz and Rutgers-Camden, Atlantic Regional foes who upended USMMA at the NCAAs a season ago.
The ninth place finish was a significant improvement from last year's Paul Short invitational where the Mariners came in 26th.
Sophomore David McGowan (pictured), who ran a life-time best 8K with a time of 27:27 was the highest Merchant Marine finisher, placing 30th in a field of 322 runners.
Rounding out the top five for Kings Point were freshmen John Weldon who came in 39th (27:40), Brendan Dooley who placed 55th (27:58), Matt Venanzi, who finished 81st (28:22), Andrew Walsh who came in 92nd (28:37).
"It was incredibly impressive that David McGowan ran his life-time best in such unfavorable conditions," said Head Coach Greg Lott. "As a team, the guys are really starting to come together. They may not have run their best race, but they are in a great place to continue to grow and move forward."
The Mariners will be racing again next weekend when they travel to the Highlander Cross Country Challenge in Newark, NJ on Sunday October 7th.