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PHILADELPHIA - Penn's women's cross country team begins its season on Friday against a strong La Salle squad ranked No. 5 in the Mid-Atlantic Region and receiving votes nationally. The teams will face off in a dual meet at Wissahickon Valley Park beginning at 5 p.m.

The Quakers, who enter the season ranked No. 11 in the Mid-Atlantic Region, return a strong core led by co-captains Leslie Kovach and Margaret Diacont. The two seniors were the top two Penn finishers in the four races in 2011 in which they both competed. Sophomores Ariel Beauregard-Breton and Lauren Kester add depth and experience after playing key roles last season, and a group of freshmen will be vying for spots on new head coach Steve Dolan's team as well.

La Salle was the 2011 Atlantic 10 champions and returns three upperclassmen who were named all-conference a season ago.

Friday's race against the Explorers is a 4K tune-up before next weekend sees the Quakers return to their normal distance of 6K at the Iona Meet of Champions in New York City.

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