NEW ORLEANS – On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the Division I cross country preseason regional team rankings. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, the University of Pennsylvania men were voted fourth, while the women were voted sixth.
At regionals last year, both teams had stellar performances and all runners finished within the top 50.
Thomas Awad placed fifth overall and was the first cross country runner to punch a ticket to nationals since Courtney Jaworski in 2005, while Cleo Whiting placed 23rd and was the first freshman in women’s cross country history to compete at nationals.
Once again, the men will be competing for the top spot in the region with Villanova, Ivy-rival Princeton, and Georgetown. (Each team, including Penn, has been ranked in the preseason poll in its respective finish in last year’s race.) The top competition also remains the same on the women’s side-- Villanova, Georgetown, Penn State, West Virginia, and Princeton.
The Red and Blue will stay local for their first race, the Big 5 Invitational, held at the Belmont Plateau on Sept. 12.
For a full list of the USTFCCCA rankings, click here.
USTFCCCA Regional Cross Country Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning team strength with current-season results in determining predicted team finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships.