Awad Heads to Terre Haute for NCAA XC Championship

PHILADELPHIA – For the second straight year, University of Pennsylvania junior cross country captain Thomas Awad will make the trip to Terre Haute, Ind. to compete in the NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday. Hosted by Indiana State, the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center will serve as the site of the men’s and women’s championship races for the 10th time in the last 12 years. The women’s 6-kilometer race will begin at noon ET, followed by the men’s 10-kilometer race at approximately 1 p.m. A live webcast of the championships will be provided by the NCAA.

For a chance to compete in Terre Haute this year, Awad earned a bid after placing third at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. He led the Quakers to a sixth-place finish, out of 23 teams, with a time of 30:21.

“I knew my spot was safe, so I didn’t really push too hard,” Awad said.

“Buckling down from 6k on was probably the most important part of that race,” said Awad. “Before I knew it, there was a mile to go and the lead pack had gone from like 40 to eight guys. So at that point, I knew I was in a pretty good spot and still felt comfortable with that mile to go, and then with a 1000 to go it was just three guys.”

When Awad competed at the cross country nationals last year, he completed the 10k in 32:01.9 and finished 176 in the pack of 253 runners.

“I’ve been to two national championships before, neither of which have gone great," Awad said. "I need to start running well at these big meets, and I’m definitely focused going into this one."

Thirty-eight individuals were selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process.

Click here for a complete list of the team and individual qualifiers.