Running through mud, sleet, rain and snow, Penn men’s and women’s cross country each placed last in the all-Ivy Heptagonal Championships, a disappointing finish as they gear up for the NCAA East Regional competition in two weeks.
Princeton took the men’s title, and Cornell was the women’s champion.
Penn’s harriers struggled to run through thick mud and near-freezing temperatures. Junior Leslie Kovach, who has consistently been Penn’s fastest female runner, finished in 27th place, running the 6,000-meter race in a time of 23:01.6. Penn women’s next highest finisher, junior Margaret Diacont, ended the competition in 55th.
The men’s team had more even results. Penn’s top four finished within 10 seconds of each other. Junior George Dickson was the fastest for Penn in 52nd, running the 8,000 in 26:02.7, one minute and 15 seconds behind the winner, Dartmouth’s Ethan Shaw.
Blake Boldon, who coaches both Penn teams, expressed frustration that the team had trouble performing amidst the difficult conditions.
“The results speak for themselves,” Boldon said. “[The weather] definitely affected us more than the other teams.”
Dickson, was less adamant that weather was the mitigating factor in the team’s performance.
“Weather is a part of cross country,” he said. “It’s difficult to say that it affected us more than them.”
Members of the men’s team often finish within a few seconds of each other, an attribute that can be positive or negative depending on the race.
“When we move forward, we move forward as a pack,” Dickson said, expressing hope that the team’s cohesion would be useful as they attempt to move past Saturday’s performance and compete in the their final meet of the season.
Boldon, as well, emphasized that Saturday’s performance should not be repeated during the final meet of the season.
“I’m hoping for bigger and better things at the regional meet,” he said.
“We’ve had a good year,” he added. “It would be a shame to end it like this.”
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