Six seemed to be the magic number for Penn men’s and women’s cross country on Friday.
Competing at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals, the men and women saw their seasons come to an end as the teams both finished sixth. Both would have needed to finish in the top two out of more than 25 schools in each field to advance as a team to Nationals.
On the men’s side, Penn was led in the 10-kilometer run by junior Kevin Monogue and seniors Patrick Hally and Chris Luciano. The trio finished 16th, 19th, and 27th, but were unable to stay close enough to the front to help the Quakers outrun Ivy League foe Princeton and Navy, who finished first and second.
“The idea was we’re going to put our group up towards the front, and really take a risk. And you know, that’s how they ran they race. They took a real shot,” Penn men’s and women’s cross country coach Steve Dolan said. “They left it all on the course and that’s all you can really ask for as a coach.”
While it was a somewhat disappointing end to a promising season that saw Penn’s men ranked No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic Region at one point, the women’s finish in their 6k race was more encouraging. Just two weeks earlier, the Quakers had finished seventh in the Ivy League championships.
“I was very proud of the effort,” Dolan said. “I think we had a really good run. It was arguably the best run of the season as a team.”
Leading the way for Penn was freshman Danielle Orie, who finished eleventh overall and just missed on qualifying individually for Nationals. Her time was the 5th-best finish among runners who were not on one of the two teams that qualified, with the top four of such runners being guaranteed to qualify individually. Orie also just missed out on one of the two available at-large bids nationally.
“She was definitely very close and she just missed it as a freshman,” Dolan said. “But she had a great season.”
Among the women’s four other scorers, only one was a senior in Abby Hong. For the men, the race was the final collegiate cross country competition for Hally and Luciano, as well as Ross Wilson.
While the meet marked the end of the cross country season, Penn’s runners won’t have much time to rest. The men and women will both be in indoor track and field in just three weeks at the Lehigh Season Opener.