Every year, Lehigh hosts the Paul Short Invitational, one of the largest cross country invites on the east coast, at its athletic campus, Goodman. Both men’s and women’s teams from nearly one hundred colleges and one hundred high schools compete in around a dozen races. After missing it last year, I was determined to go and watch a few of these races this year despite the invite taking place on a Friday. As a member of the running club, one of the student-run organizations I am actively involved in, I had the opportunity to run in the open college men’s race, but a conflict with a civil engineering exam kept me from entering. However, afterwards, I skipped one of my classes and got a ride over the mountain from a friend to watch a few races.
Being from Buffalo, NY, I didn’t expect to see any familiar faces in the races; I figured no local high schools from my area would travel so far. However, I recognized a couple runners in the college women’s brown race (the start of which is right) wearing the uniforms of a small local college. Also, standing at the finish line of one of the men’s races, I found myself cheering for a former teammate from my high school.
Although the Paul Short Invitational is the largest annual athletic event at Lehigh, it is far from being the most popular to attend among students. Still the university has free busing for every athletic event held on Goodman Campus, including football, basketball, and soccer games. Every Saturday that there is a home football game, I have been able to roll out of bed around 11:30, eat, get dressed, and catch a bus to get the stadium in time for the 12:30 kickoff. Lehigh is Division 1 in nearly every sport and has very competitive teams. The fact that I can watch and cheer on my school and fellow classmates anytime I want just makes for an even greater college experience.