For the Penn men’s and women’s cross country teams, Saturday’s Iona Meet of Champions provided a window into the future.
In Steve Dolan’s competitive debut as head coach, the men finished sixth out of 14 teams, while the women posted a second-place finish for the second consecutive year.
For the men, the day was a youth movement of sorts, as three out of the top five Penn finishers were freshmen.
Tops among the men was freshman Brendan Smith, whose No. 12 finish came in a time of 25:57.37, the only Penn competitor to break 26 minutes at the eight-kilometer course in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt park.
Following Smith across the line was fellow rookie Brandon Clark, who posted a No. 24 finish with a time of 26:19.98.
A pair of familiar faces paced the women’s team.
Perennial national contender Leslie Kovach finished fourth overall. The senior ran a time of 22:40.07 on the 6,000-meter course.
Following closely behind was junior Kersie Jhabvala, who notched a seventh-place finish with a time of 23:01.84.
The Red and Blue have a week off before they compete again, returning to action on Sept. 28 in the Paul Short Invitational, held on Lehigh’s campus.