It was back to the Bronx this weekend for the Penn women’s and men’s cross country teams.
Like last week, the Quakers traveled to Van Cortlandt Park Saturday, this time to compete in the Iona Meet of Champions.
Things were a little different this time around, though. Last week, the women came in first in a field of 18 teams, but this weekend both teams met stiffer competition and the women were faced with a longer and hillier course.
With 62 points, the women placed second among the 21 teams competing, unable to top Ivy League opponent Harvard, who finished with 44 points. Harvard freshman Sammy Silva won the race in 22:35.43.
“It was a better field and a tougher race, so it was a bit more challenging this week,” women’s coach Gwen Harris said . “Most of the girls hadn’t run this type of race before, so it was a great experience for them. They really stuck their [noses] out there.”
Freshman Leslie Kovach ran in first for the Quakers, with a time of 23:16.06, good for seventh place overall. Following was freshman Laura Bilder (23:19.53) in 10th and sophomore Laura Steel (23:27.71) in 12th. Rounding out the top five for Penn were freshman Margaret Diacont (23:36.53) and senior Kellee Hand (23:48.23).
Senior Anna Aagenes, who cheered from the sidelines this week in order to rest, was very happy with what she saw.
“The freshmen did a great job of stepping up, especially since for most of them it was their first 6K,” Aagenes said. “We’ve all put in a lot of hard work these past few weeks and it’s starting to show, but I know we will have even more to offer in the next few weeks.”
At the same time, the men’s team did not fare as well as its female counterpart Saturday, finishing seventh out of 22 teams with 206 points. The Red and Blue came in second among Ivy League teams, as Yale finished fourth with 145. Kent State was the 8K winner.
Former Iona College runner Harbert Okuti was Penn’s best finisher (25:20.76). Eric Finan, a sophomore from Cincinnati, was the top overall finisher.
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