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In what the teams generally use as a chance to return to racing form, the men’s and women’s cross country teams showed they are prepared for the season ahead.

Both teams took first place in their first meet of the season at the Fordham Fiasco among fourteen other squads and over 300 runners at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y.

For the men, the first-place finish was a marked improvement from last season’s sixth-place finish.

Senior Luke Grau was the first Penn runner to cross the finish line of the 8k race. He finished fifth overall with a time of 26:30. Junior Michael Cunningham and freshman Conor Paez finished right behind Grau in sixth and seventh place, respectively. The three completed the race within six seconds of each other.

While the women also finished first place last season, their performance this meet was perhaps a telling indicator of future success as four of the top 5 finishers were underclassmen.

Sophomore Leslie Kovach led the women with an overall second-place finish and a time of 18:26 in the 5k race and Megan Powell followed close behind her to finish fifth.

Both teams will return to the Bronx this Saturday when they will participate in the Iona Meet of Champions.

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