HANOVER, N.H. – It’s been nearly three weeks since the Dartmouth men’s cross country team last ran against outside competition. After the season-opening Dartmouth Invitational at the Hanover Country Club on Sept. 14, members of the team have had no one to push them other than their own teammates and coaches.

That all changes Saturday morning as members of the Big Green will line up against some of the best teams east of the Mississippi River at the 2013 Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh.

Running in the men’s 8K Gold race against 47 other programs, Dartmouth will get things started at 11 a.m. in what is annually regarded as one of the top cross country meets anywhere in the nation.

Competing against the Big Green on Saturday will be teams from Georgetown, Penn State and Iona in addition to Ivy League foes Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Penn and Yale.

Last season, Dartmouth claimed fourth as a team on the strength of Will Geoghegan’s fifth-place individual finish. Fellow senior John Bleday was the second Big Green runner to cross the line that day in Bethlehem, Pa., taking the 22nd spot.

Head coach Barry Harwick ’77 will rely on those two harriers, as well as classmate Steve Mangan, to carry the team in this year’s race. The hope is that two Dartmouth runners in the top-10 should put it in good position to beat teams from other regions, a feat that is necessary to help earn precious at-large bids to the NCAA National Championship Meet come November.

In addition to the Gold, there will also be Brown and White Races that boast each 48 teams. High school varsity and junior varsity teams will take to the course in the afternoon, giving spectators an entire day of cross country action of varying distances and skill levels.