TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Cold, wind, mud. Not the ideal conditions for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships, but it didn’t stop University of Pennsylvania cross country runners sophomore Thomas Awad and freshman Cleo Whiting from competing in the race, which was hosted by Indiana State at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.
Despite the conditions, 31 degrees and 17mph winds, the races began on time with the men’s 10K at noon and the women’s 6K at 1:15 p.m. Awad crossed the line at 32:01.9 and finished 176 in the pack of 253 runners. Whiting completed the race in 21:54.7 and finished 184 out of 253.
The starting line was moved up about 115 meters due to the mud and lingering ponding on the original start line, so there would be a smaller chance of falling near the start. Therefore, the races were short of the original 10Km and 6Km championship race distances, which converted to a time-equivalent of about 20 seconds.
Though the cross country season has ended, the indoor track season begins after the Thanksgiving holiday on December 6. The teams will compete in the Fast Times Before Finals race at Bethlehem.