The 2009 Muhlenberg cross country season may remind some of a pivotal scene in Ace Ventura. But instead of Finkle and Einhorn, cross country was about Torphy and Mahoney, Mahoney and Torphy.
That's because juniors Bobby Torphy and Kate Mahoney consistently crossed the finish line first for the men and women, respectively. Torphy was the top male runner for the Mules in every race this season, while Mahoney led the women in every race she ran in.
Thornton was the second Mule runner across the finish line at the Paul Short Run and third at the Mideast Regional.
For the second straight year the men finished fifth at the Centennial Conference Championships, while the women improved by one spot from 2008 and finished seventh. The men came in 15th in the region, but the women dropped out of the top 15 for the first time since 2002, finishing 25th without an injured Mahoney.
Torphy earned a bid to the NCAA Division III Championships after a 22nd-place finish at the Mideast Regional (fifth among runners from non-qualifying teams). Torphy finished ahead of more than 100 runners at the NCAA Championships, placing 169th.
Both teams had their highest finishes in the first meet of the year, the Lehigh Valley Championships. Both came in fourth, with the women placing first among Division III schools. Mahoney finished 11th (second among Division III runners), and Torphy was the first Division III runner across the finish line, coming in sixth overall.
A return to Lehigh for the Paul Short Run a month later saw improvement for many Mule runners. On the men's side, Torphy, senior Patrick Thornton and sophomores Ryan Ganley and William Lowrey ran their best times, with Torphy finishing sixth out of 245 runners and Thornton 38th.
Mahoney finished 10th out of 121 runners in the 6K at the Dickinson Long/Short Invitational.
The women had similar results, with six of the seven varsity runners improving on their times. Sophomore Melissa Ugelow lowered her time by 1:19 to come in 23rd, just five places behind Mahoney.
In the final test before the CC Championships, the women placed fifth at the Leopard Invitational and the men eighth. The women beat two Division I schools and the men one while running in 39-degree icy winds.
Mahoney was the top Mule finisher at the CC meet, finishing 20th. Torphy came in the 27th on the men's side, with Lowrey finishing just three spots behind him. Torphy took all-region honors with his finish at the Mideast Regional.
With no seniors on the women's side, 2010 should be an even brighter season for the Mules, with Mahoney, Ugelow and junior Kim Bier forming the core of a team on the rise.
The men lose just one senior, Thornton, for next season. Torphy, Lowrey and Ganley will lead what should be an impressive squad.