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The Penn men's cross country team competes in the Fordham Fiasco/Ed Joyce Memorial meet in Van Cortlandt Park on Sept. 7, 2019. Credit: Chase Sutton

Penn secured solid finishes in both the men and women’s cross-country races at the Panorama XC23 Invitational in Virginia, building towards the remainder of their seven-meet fall season.

The men’s team, running the 8k race, placed 11th out of 17 overall, with an average time of 24:38, a minute and twelve seconds off the fastest average. The women’s team clinched an eighth-place finish out of 18 in the 5k race, averaging 17:42, compared to the winners’ 16:46.

Junior Maeve Stiles continued her terrific form for the women's team, picking up where she left off from her 19:57 6k timing at the Lehigh Paul Short Run. She ran the 5k in 17:08, finishing as the leader of the Quaker pack. Senior Lizzy Bader also stood out for the women, finishing second-best among the Red and Blue.

Matt Gosselin, the associate women’s cross country coach, emphasized that the women have been implementing what they are learning during practice. 

“We’ve been working throughout the year on making sure that we're continuing to progress through races, and that our last mile is our best mile,” Gosselin said. “We had a number of people execute that really well on the day.”

The men’s squad also ran a tight race, with less than 75 seconds separating its first and last runner. The group showed impressive depth, especially since they were running without their number one, sophomore Dylan Throop. 

Sophomore Luke Johnson, the fastest Penn runner in the race with a per-mile timing of 4:52.7, had never been Penn’s number one previously.

“I think what we want to continue to do is make sure that the spread between our number one and number five runners continues to get a little bit tighter,” Gosselin said. “The closer our pack can be to each other, the better.”

Sophomore Edwin Klanke, who ran a 24:25 race, put in a spirited performance in the 8,000m even though he usually runs the 800m and 1500m races. Klanke significantly improved on his performance on the same course last year (25:41).

With the Ivy Heptagonal Championships coming up next week after this Friday's Haverford Invitational, expectations remain high in the Quaker locker room.

“The Ivy League is one of the more competitive conferences in the country. Our team has the ability to place highly on both the men’s and the women's side,” Gosselin said. “We just want to be the best version of our team that we can possibly be. I think if we can execute a good race strategy, the chips will fall in place for us, and we'll do well.”