Lehigh’s Connor Melko opened his junior cross country season Friday with a 5th-place finish in a field of 130 at the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem.
Melko covered the 6,000-meter course in 18:18, which is 4:54 pace on the hilly, winding, twisting course on Lehigh’s South campus, which is also partially in Lower Saucon Township.
Melko, a Bishop Eustace graduate, was Lehigh’s No. 1 runner on the short version of the Mountainhawks’ home course, which has twice hosted the NCAA Championships.
Lehigh scored 58 points, finishing second to Princeton, which won with 20 points.
Also under 19 minutes was Lower Cape May Regional graduate Will Berger, a junior at Rutgers. He placed 30th in 18:57.
Two Monmouth freshmen from South Jersey opened their careers in this race. Pitman’s Sebastien Reed placed 54th in 19:36 and Cherokee’s Nico Grilli followed eight seconds and four spots back.
Liam Duffy of Haddon Township, a junior at nearby Moravian, placed 65th in 19:55.