BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Nearly 50 schools from throughout the United States competed in the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University. The deep and talented field included over 350 women, which included the young and promising squad from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Facing a field of talent that the Rams hasn't seen in nearly 10 years, the young squad wrapped up the day with a 37th place finish on the six kilometer course.

They were led by junior Hayley Sullivan (Burke, Va.) who held a steady pace just over the six-minute-mile mark. Teammate Nicole Walters (Orange, Va.) had the second best time for the Rams, finishing 43 seconds behind Sullivan.

"Our girls had never seen an environment like this with so many runners and to top it off it was the first six-kilometer race of the year," Director of Cross Country Nicole Cook said. "I thought our girls handled the situation well and ran a solid meet. We'll return to practice this week and continue to work on getting better every day."

Other top team finishers for VCU included freshman Hailey Scheren (Washington, D.C.), freshman Caitlin Hoffman (Nokesville, Va.) and junior Heather DelaCruz (Williamsburg, Va.) who finished just two seconds behind Hoffman.

The next challenge for the VCU Women's Cross Country team will be an in-state meet at the University of Virginia Invitational on October 15th.