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Rising senior Anthony Russo was the only Penn cross country runner who competed at last year's NCAA Championships, where he finished 89th.

Credit: William Snow

The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with cross country senior Anthony Russo to ask him 15 questions. Here's what he had to say.

1. How’d you get into cross country?

I started running cross country my junior year of high school, but I always heard about it, because I started running track my freshman year. The cross country coach was always trying to get me to come out for cross country because I was doing well on track, but it took me until junior year to start. I really just kind of fell in love with it and running in general, and then each year I started to get better and better. And I'm a pretty competitive person.

2. What led you to run cross country at Penn?

It was definitely a combination of a lot of things. Aside from Penn’s beautiful campus, all of the great academic resources available for pre-med students, and my desire to experience living in a city, the team played a large part. Since I played soccer my whole life up until my junior year of high school, being on a team and the camaraderie that comes with it means a lot to me. Once I visited Penn and met the cross country team, I felt at home.

3. Who are your inspirations?

My parents, just because they work very hard, and they always put someone else above themselves. They always are trying to give me and my sister the best opportunities possible. I really admire that and hope to be like that when I'm a parent.

4. How’d you spend your summer during COVID?

I start my day around 7:30 a.m. and I go to my primary route of the day. I was planning to work at a hospital, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. And so I just spent my days reading or trying to get ahead of classes. I typically go for another run in the afternoon, and then spend the evenings just hanging out with family and eating dinner.

5. What are you looking forward to about returning to Penn?

I’m in Philly now and most of the team lives off campus, so we're still able to train together, which is really nice.

6. What’s something you have learned since COVID happened?

I took a lot of little things for granted, like something as simple as going to the grocery store or going to church. I don't miss going to grocery store now, but [I miss] spending time with people that I wasn't able to spend time with for most of the summer and it made me value my friendships a lot more.

7. Best sports memory in cross country during your time at Penn?

I would definitely say the whole last year of cross country. I really enjoyed my grade and the seniors at the time. We were really close, and the whole season, we were building out towards the Ivy League Championship and trying to get to Nationals. We didn't get to Nationals, but we ended up winning the Ivy League Championship and it really felt like all of our hard work paid off. It was just a really fun experience and I'm never going to forget that for the rest of my life.

8. If you were not in cross country, what sport would you play?

I used to play soccer, but I really like basketball. If I wasn't 5-foot-6, I would try to play basketball, but I can't.

9. Something you’re looking forward to towards the end of 2020?

I’m hoping this semester goes well. I’m trying to go to medical school.

10. Dogs or cats?

Dogs. Not the biggest fan of cats.

11. What are your thoughts on the protocol changes since COVID started?

I agree that everyone should be wearing masks. People should be social distancing. Whatever we have to do to limit the amount of people getting sick and the amount of people dying, I completely agree with.

12. What’s your hidden talent?

I can juggle.

13. Favorite place to chill on Penn’s campus?

It’s not on Penn’s campus, but I love Cira Green. It’s lowkey space.

14. A TV show you’d recommend?

I was just watching a show with my friend. It’s called "Dave" and it’s about the rapper, Lil Dicky.

15. What’s something you’ll miss about cross country?

The team aspect. The whole season of cross country is about the team and motivating each other. Everyone is training hard for each other to do well.