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Junior Ariana Gardizy placed 36th as the fastest women's runner for the meet this weekend.

Credit: Chase Sutton

The Penn men’s and women’s cross country squads kicked off their respective seasons at the Lehigh Invitational at the home of the Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pa. this weekend, each putting on strong showings to start the year.

Each team ran 6000 meters (a 6k), with average finishing times of 18 minutes, 51 seconds for the men, and 23 minutes, 26 seconds for the women. The men for the Red and the Blue finished third as a team out of seven competing universities, while the women took fifth place out of eight universities. Princeton and home team Lehigh took first and second place for the men, respectively, while Monmouth, Princeton, and Lehigh rounded out the podium for the women.

Princeton swept the top three places for the men’s race, with sophomore Matthew Farrell, sophomore Joshua Zelek, and senior Kevin Berry taking gold, silver, and bronze, respectively. Penn’s top finisher was sophomore Will Shaughnessy, who was followed closely by junior Zubeir Dagane, senior James Lee, and sophomore Oliver Stewart. All four of these Quakers finished within milliseconds of each other, and placed 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th overall out of 130 finishing competitors. Many other Penn men’s runners were not far behind, with several finishing within a second of Shaughnessy.

As for the women, Monmouth junior Sammi Ragenklint, West Virginia fifth-year Hayley Jackson, and Rutgers graduate student Olympia Martin finished in the top three positions. The Quakers’ fastest runner was senior Ariana Gardizy, with senior Niamh Hayes, junior Lizzy Bader, sophomores Fabianna Szorenyi, Phoebe White, Olivia Morganti, Laura Baeyens, Zoe Shetty, and freshmen Katie Pou and Bronwyn Patterson all finishing immediately behind her.  Places 36-45 all belonged to Penn.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will look to build on their Friday performances at Haverford College in two weeks at the Main Line Invitational.