Last week hurt for Penn cross country, but there’s no time for the Quakers to hang their heads — the next chapter of their season begins on Friday.
After a season brimming with hope and expectation, the Quakers struggled to follow through at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships last weekend. The men finished third, edged out by Princeton and Columbia, unable to defend their crown; the women placed seventh, feeling the full impact of losing its star seniors from last year.
Despite the disheartening outcome, the athletes remain resilient.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t do as well as we had hoped, but that still isn’t something that we’re ever going to look back negatively on,” freshman Danielle Orie said.
Orie led the way for the youthful women’s side with a tremendous eighth place finish, earning her second-team All-Ivy honors alongside senior captain Abby Hong, who finished tenth overall.
First-year assistant coach Chelsea France saw the promise in her team’s performance.
“To have two women in the top-ten is a great, great situation for us to be in, especially with how young in terms of experience this group is,” she said. “I’m very proud of how they stepped up and rose to the occasion.”
On the men’s side, junior Kevin Monogue and senior Chris Luciano led the way, finishing in twelfth and fifteenth place, respectively. It was good enough for them to both earn All-Ivy honors, but given their championship expectations, the recognition did not sate their appetites.
But the season is not over yet, and the team is using last week’s experience to learn and get better in preparation for the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Regional.
“This week, going into Regionals, we just really want to focus on our race. We want to focus on us because the more we focus on our race and what makes us strong and separate from the pack is how we’re going to run the best race,” France said.
Orie echoed this sentiment.
“At the last workout, [head] coach [Steve] Dolan and coach France really emphasized, obviously the team aspect, but in a race really focusing on yourself and not thinking about outside forces,” Orie said. “We can’t control how other teams do, but we can control ourselves in the moment.”
Last season, both the men and women put forth strong efforts at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals: the men finished in fourth; the women finished in third and received an at-large bid for the NCAA Championships as a result.
It is an important weekend for Penn cross country, but from the looks of it, they are prepared.