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The Penn men's indoor track team opens the 1998 portion of its season in Annapolis, Md. Saturday with a three-team meet against host Navy and Virginia Commonwealth. Penn and Navy certainly are not strangers. They compete perennially in the Heptagonals with the rest of the Ivy League. Moreover, Penn travelled to Annapolis for the Navy Invitational six weeks ago to open its season. This Saturday's three-team meet, however, will be significantly different than the Invitational because only individual competition results were kept last time. This weekend team scores will be kept as well. Although Penn performed very well in its first appearance at Navy, a few factors will be working against the Quakers tomorrow. Penn has not engaged in competition since their opening meet at Navy in early December, while the Midshipmen just competed last weekend. Also, the Quakers did not start practicing until last Sunday, when the athletes returned from winter break. Meanwhile, the Midshipmen have been back at school for almost two full weeks. "We haven't had a chance to do a lot of technical work this week, so some guys may be rusty," coach Charlie Powell said. As always, Saturday's meet will provide an opportunity for the Penn athletes to qualify for the IC4As. It will also provide the team with its first team competition of the season. "I'm interested to see how the freshmen react to a scoring meet and the pressure involved," Powell said. "We'll find out who's ready to step up to this level. Many of our athletes were ex-State Champions in high school, but now they are running against other ex-State Champions." This weekend will give Powell a good indication of what kind of contribution the freshmen can make to this team. Good freshmen performances, coupled with the experience of the upperclassmen who won the Indoor Heptagonals last year, would be a promising sign for this year's squad. "Last year we were very strong except in the distances," Powell said. "Navy is traditionally one of the better mid-distance/distance teams in the league." Running against the strong Navy distance team with a mere three teams at the meet will show if the Red and Blue has improved one of last year's few weaknesses. The results of Penn's first team meet of the season should give a good forecast of the future. Despite six weeks without competition and a three week vacation, Saturday's meet could potentially prove the strength of the freshman class and the strength of the distance team en route to a victory against a familiar foe.

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