Princeton, N.J. – In a competitive field of runners, the University of Pennsylvania men and women cross country teams placed sixth among the Ancient Eight in the Heptagonal Championship at Princeton’s West Windsor Field. The biggest race of the season consisted of the top-ranked men’s teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions as well as the second-place women’s teams in those respective regions.
The first event of the day was the men’s 8K, and the top five finishers included three seniors, a junior, and a sophomore. Thomas Awad was the lone sophomore, finishing first for the Red and Blue and third overall, with a time of 23:44.8. First-Team All-Ivy, Awad's finish was the best for a Quaker since Dave Merrick placed first in 1975.
Next to cross the line for Penn was sophomore Brendan Smith with a time of 24:35.1. Freshman Brendan Shearn (24:38.2), senior captains Conner Paez (24:39.9) and Conor Nickel (24.49.2) followed to wrap up the top five runners for the Red and Blue. Also placing for the Quakers was junior John Trueman (25:12.0) and sophomore Clark Shurtleff (25:12.9). The seven runners averaged a time of 24:29.5.
After the men completed the race, the women took the field for the 6K. The top four Quakers finished within six places of each other. Coming in first for Penn and 28 overall was freshman Cleo Whiting with a time of 21:39.6. Two places after, twin sister Clarissa Whiting crossed at 21:42.6, followed by sophomore Gabriella Cuccia at 21:44.5. Sophomore Elyssa Gensib took 33 with a time of 21:47.2. Also placing for the Red and Blue was freshman Madison Holleran (22:04.3), senior captain Chelsea Delaney (22:34.4), and freshman Ashley Montgomery (22:46.9). The eighth runner to cross the line for the Quakers was freshman Emily Quinn (23:04.0). Penn finished with an average time of 21:47.7.
In two weeks, the cross country teams will compete at the NCAA Regional Championships in Bethlehem.