PRINCETON, N.J. – The University of Pennsylvania men’s cross country team came to West Windsor Fields with one goal in mind on Saturday: break a 43 year drought for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Today, the Red and Blue did all that and more, placing all five scorers in the top-12 for All-Ivy accolades in a dominant, senior-led team showing for the 2016 men’s team championship.
“The guys were off the charts and it was such a great team effort, said Steve Dolan, Director of Cross Country & Track and Field. “Everybody did their jobs in the top five today. We ran smart and we thought we had the opportunity to win the title but you actually have to go out and do it. We executed a great race.”
Senior Nick Tuck led the way individually with a fourth-place finish in a time of 23:56.7, while classmate Brendan Shearn was right behind him in 23:58.3 as both earned first-team All-Ivy. Senior Chris Hatler (eighth in 24:08.4), junior Chris Luciano (ninth in 24:08.5) and junior Patrick Hally (12th in 24:11.7) all earned second-team All-Ivy honors.
With all five runners earning All-Ivy, the Red and Blue gained its first Ivy Heps title since 1973 and third overall with 38 points. The other championship came in 1971. Princeton came in second, with 51 points, while defending champion Columbia was third with 81 points.
Yale senior James Randon was the individual champion on Saturday; he clocked 23:47.5 to defeat Princeton junior William Paulson (23:51.8) and Tigers freshman Conor Lundy (23:53.5).
“It’s been phenomenal to watch your team go from the back when we were freshman to champions now that we’re seniors. We couldn’t do it without everyone here,” said team captain Brendan Shearn.
“For the first two miles there were 30-40 people in the pack, but when it thinned out to the top-15 we still had all five of our guys up there. The second half of the race was a really good run for us and we finished strong,” continued Dolan.
Following today’s performances, the Quakers now have 60 student-athletes that have earned All-Ivy accolades in cross country program history, which includes 37 first team members and 23 second team laurels. Shearn and Tuck repeat as multiple award winners after earning second team accolades from 2015.
Just a year ago, the Quakers came one point short of winning the Ivy Heps team championship at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. That is now a distant memory with today’s showing, and the Red and Blue have their minds set to Mid-Atlantic Regionals in two weeks where they’ll look to once again earn a bid to the NCAA Championships set later in November.
Senior Brendan Shearn: “Nick [Tuck] and I tried to get out in front and stay in the front throughout the race; we wanted to make sure we were as high [in the standings] as possible. At three miles we were third as a team, but by mile five we had won by 20 points.
Senior Nick Tuck: “Its been a real honor working with Coach Dolan and he’s helped us and always has been so confident in us. As individuals, me and Brendan wanted to be in the top-5 and we wanted to push and go for the win. Even though that didn’t happen, it’s so much nicer knowing we pushed ourselves and did our job for the team.
Senior Chris Hatler: “Its been a crazy journey. We were sixth our freshman year and now we’re champions. Today, I tried to stay conservative through the first half of the race and move up in the latter half. We wanted to see what we could do with two miles left and we pushed hard and got it done.”