At one of the year’s most competitive events, the Binghamton men’s and women’s cross country teams ran at the Lehigh/Paul Short Run on Saturday. The men’s team took third place overall out of 45 teams. Redshirt sophomore Matt Goyden finished 12th and redshirt senior Daryn Hutchings placed 14th out of nearly 392 runners at the event.

“[Goyden] definitely had the race of the day in terms of improvement from last year,” said BU head coach Annette Acuff. “That was a standout performance from Matt so we’re very excited for him. He worked very hard from last year to increase his level of fitness. He bumped his mileage up and he trained really hard.”

At the 2018 Paul Short Run, Goyden ran a time of 26:40:00 in the 8K, placing 98th. Last Saturday he improved to 25:00.4, earning silverware along with Hutchings, who clocked in at 25:02.8.

“This year’s team performance was definitely much better than last year’s team performance,” Acuff said.

Last year, redshirt junior Dan Schaffer placed first overall at the meet, but Acuff seemed to think that the overall quality of the performance greatly improved, especially from the previous meets this season.

“It was definitely a progression from Colgate and Iona and it was definitely an improvement,” Acuff said. “Hopefully we’re on the right track.”

On the women’s side, sophomore Aziza Chigatayeva performed well again, finishing 40th out of 366 runners with a time of 20:47.1 in the 6K race. Chigatayeva raced in the Women’s Gold Race, the most competitive level at the meet. Acuff seems confident that she has a shot for a top-25 finish at the conference meet, as the difficulty of Saturday’s meet simulates the competitiveness of the NCAA regional meet.

Senior Jessica Cueva-Scarpelli also finished in the top half of the standings, coming in 170th with a time of 21:47.1. Acuff said that junior Kaylee Stone did not compete due to illness and will miss the rest of the season. Overall, the team finished 38 out of 43.

The freshmen at the meet ran their first collegiate 8K (men) and 6K (women). Acuff seemed to think that they handled the course and competition well despite the novelty of the course itself, the longer distance and challenges of collegiate athletics, with a hunger to improve as the season progresses.

“I think that [the result] helps the freshmen especially because it’s nice to come in as a freshman, not really sure what to expect; it’s so competitive compared to high school, it’s nice to experience some success like that both individually and as a team,” Acuff said.

Freshmen Marty Dolan and Ryan Guerci finished 70th and 90th overall, running 25:29.5 and 25:38.6, respectively.

“I think our perspective is to try and continue to train well and be smart about what we’re doing in practice and try to continue to take good care of ourselves so that way we can keep everyone healthy over the next month going into the conference meet,” Acuff said. “It’s going to be really competitive, it’ll be a good challenge for us to try and finish in the top three again this year … So far I’m very pleased with the progress and I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

BU’s next meet will be the Princeton Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 19. The event will take place in Princeton, New Jersey.