Last year, Penn women’s cross country finished last in the Ivy League.
This is an indisputable fact. In their year-end Heptagonal meet, the de facto Ivy championship competition, the Red and Blue only managed to finish eighth in the Ancient Eight. And while any single meet result should be taken with a grain of salt, this sort of result would be the elephant in the room.
Over the past few years, Penn men’s cross country has largely been a showcase for one of the top runners in the nation: Thomas Awad. And what a showcase it has been.
A casual observer at the recent Princeton Invitational may have been a bit confused by the sight of the same Penn cross country runner crossing the finish line twice in a one-second span.
While plenty of attention has been paid to the talented underclassmen of woman’s cross country, the men’s program boasts some young firepower of its own.
After having spent the past two years rebuilding, developing young talent and generally hanging out near the bottom of the campus fall sports totem pole, Penn cross country is ready to take the next step forward.
There are no two ways about it: 2013 was a transition year for Penn cross country, but the program still had its fair share of bright moments.
The adage goes: “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”, but starting a distance race on the right foot sure can’t hurt.
In almost any sport, if you spend the fewest minutes on the field of anyone on the team, it makes you a scrub or a benchwarmer. In cross country, though, this same condition makes you something different entirely: a star.
Expectations for sports teams can
be a gift and a curse. This is one of the key issues at hand for Penn cross country entering the 2014 season.
The Penn women’s cross country team finds itself in with freshman phenoms — and identical twin sisters — Cleo and Clarissa Whiting.
This Saturday, freshman Cleo Whiting and sophomore Thomas Awad will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., where they will both compete in the NCAA National Cross Country Championships. Indiana State’s LaVern Gibson Championship Course will play host this weekend to not only the nation’s best cross country teams, but also the fastest individual runners in the country.
The Penn cross country team picked a really good day to have its best race of the season.
After a strong showing two weeks ago at Heptagonal Championships, the Red and Blue are looking to improve upon their pre-meet rankings of ninth for the men and eighth for the women. Both teams are chasing top six finishes in the region.
The men and women of Penn cross country both finished in sixth place at Saturday’s Heptagonal Championships — the Ivy League’s de facto championship meet — in Princeton.
Penn’s cross country runners might be young, but they know their history. And they know full well how important it is to succeed at Saturday’s Heptagonal Championships at Princeton, an Ivy tradition since 1934.
Part of the team competed in the Princeton Invitational, while other runners competed in the Pre-National Invitational at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.
On Saturday, the Quakers will compete in the 40th Annual Paul Short Invitational Meet at Lehigh, one of the toughest collegiate races on the East Coast.
Although Penn cross country failed to grab a podium spot, the Quakers ran a solid final tune-up race at the Main Line Invitational Meet against some strong competition.
When asked what the goal was when it came to the upcoming Main Line Invitational meet, coach Steve Dolan and seniors Conor Nickel and Kersie Jhabvala all responded with the same slogan: “A team first race.”
The Penn men’s and women’s cross country teams are scheduled to set off running this Friday night in their first race, the Big 5 Meet at Belmont Plateau right here in Philadelphia.