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The Penn and Cornell track teams will compete in Europe over the next two weeks. Normally, a midseason dual meet with league rival Cornell is nothing out of the ordinary for a Penn track team. On April 18, however, the Quakers' matchup with the Big Red held special significance. This meet not only served as a tune-up for important championship meets, but it also determined which women athletes would earn the chance to compete in England on a tour beginning Monday. On the men's side, the English trip participants were decided by the Heptagonal Championships, in which Penn placed second. The quadrennial tour is a tradition for the schools. The Penn/Cornell squad rotates with teams from Yale/Harvard and Dartmouth/Brown and makes the trans-Atlantic voyage once every four years. On the fourth year of the cycle, the combined squad of Oxford and Cambridge makes its tour of the Ivies. Princeton and Columbia do not participate in the competition, which at 103 years old is the oldest international exchange of athletes. "It was at the turn of the century when it began, and they went across on boats," Penn assistant women's track coach Tony Tenisci said. "It's very historical." After arriving in London on Monday, the athletes will quickly make their way to Dublin where they will begin their whirlwind tour of competition by facing Irish club teams. The team, however, will have little time to rest. After the first meet in Ireland, the athletes will return to England to compete in two more meets before finally culminating the trip with the highlight of the tour, the competition against Oxford/Cambridge. The stakes are not high in this exhibition tour, but the Penn/Cornell squad does have a reputation to uphold. Unlike the other two Ivy combinations, Penn/Cornell has never lost a meet on this trip. Although the European clubs are permitted to bring back post-collegiate athletes, the talent level is not the same as it is for the Americans. "The United Kingdom is much smaller," Penn men's assistant coach Nathan Taylor said. "A top ten performer in England may not even be in the top 50 here." The squad will certainly give the Europeans trouble, as it is composed of several top athletes, including All-American Robin Martin, who will skip the national USATF championship for the trip. While competition is the purpose of the trip, it is sure to create memories for all participating athletes. "It is a huge honor for these young people to represent us," Tenisci said. "It's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

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