BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Duke women’s cross country team raced to a seventh place finish at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., Friday afternoon, scoring 285 points in a 42 team field.
For the third straight meet, freshmen Michaela Reinhart and Amanda Beach led the way for the Blue Devils. Reinhart finished in 25th place, clocking a time of 20:33 while Beach was three places behind her as she finished the six-kilometer course in 20:35. A mile into the race, Reinhart was 74th and Beach was 82nd, but the duo moved up rapidly in the standings to reach their final places. Joining the trio in the top 60 was sophomore Sophia Parvizi-Wayne who made her season debut. The London, England native averaged 5:36 per mile to clock a time of 20:54 which was good for 59th place.
“It was great seeing all three of them work together and be able to start a little conservatively and work their way through the field,” said head coach Rhonda Riley. “I was very happy seeing the three work together.”
Joining Parvizi-Wayne in making her 2017 debut was classmate Lindsay Billings. Billings was the 82nd finisher as she had a time of 21:06. Rounding out the scoring for the Blue Devils was junior Kim Hallowes who finished in 91st with a time of 21:10. Overall, Duke had a spread of just 37 seconds among its five scoring runners.
“We’ve been working on running as a pack and they executed that today,” said Riley. “We know that there is a lot of room to grow still in the season, but it’s very encouraging to see such a small spread.”
“We’re very encouraged knowing that we’re exactly where we want to be for this part of the season,” added Riley. “We still have a lot of hard workouts that are still ahead of us though.”
A trio of Duke runners ran at the Royals Challenge in Charlotte, N.C., as well on Friday afternoon. Junior co-captain Olivia Gwynn, sophomore Veronica Brtek, and freshman Leigha Torino all took the start in Charlotte.
"We wanted to see a good effort today," said assistant coach Daniel Goetz. "They got out a little fast and it made the later parts a bit harder, but we still competed. It was a bit of a learning race."
Gwynn picked up her second top-ten finish of the season as she ran the five-kilometer course in 17:56 to finish in tenth place. Torino clocked a time of 18:40 to come in 29th and Brtek had a time of 19:06 to finish in 47th place.
Duke’s next race will be on Oct. 13 when the Blue Devils travel to Greenville, N.C. for the ECU Pirates Invite. Duke will follow that up with Pre Nationals the next day in Louisville, Ky.