It’s not uncommon for graduating seniors to leave holes in a team’s roster -- but this particular one is about the size of the Grand Canyon.
With the departure of all-world runner Tom Awad, Penn men’s track and field will look to adjust to life without the two-time defending Ivy Heptagonal champion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.