Cross Country Kicks Off 2016 Season at Big 5 Invite

Date: Friday, September 9
Location: Belmont Plateau, West Fairmount Park
Time: 5:30 p.m. (Men's 6k), 6:00 p.m. (Women's 4k)
Teams: Penn, La Salle, Temple, Villanova, Saint Joseph's
Address: West Fairmount Park
2000 Belmont Mansion Drive
Philadelphia, Pa. 19131

PHILADELPHIA – Cross country season has finally arrived and the University of Pennsylvania is set to begin their 2016 season at the Big 5 Invitational on Friday, September 9th. The Quakers will take to Belmont Plateau in West Fairmount Park for the first meet of the year to race against La Salle, Temple, Villanova and Saint Joseph’s in the yearly invite.

Racing begins at 5:30 p.m. with the men’s 6k while the women’s 4k will take place shortly thereafter at 6 p.m. Parking is available near the entrance to Belmont Plateau for spectators.

The Quakers dominated last year’s city championship with the women taking first place and the men finishing in second. All four women who placed in the top-5 at the meet return this season while the men will see sophomore Kurt Convey, the top Quaker finisher from last season, once again in the 2016 edition.

The Big 5 Invitational kicks off a season in which the Quakers will race in five invitationals prior to the Heptagonal Championships at Princeton University on October 29th. NCAA Regional Championships are set for November 11th with the NCAA Championships scheduled for the following weekend in Terre Haute, Ind.

About Penn

*Both the men and women are ranked in the USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) national preseason poll following impressive performances over the last year. The women clock in at No. 24 while the men are registered at No. 28.

*The Quakers are also ranked amongst the top teams in the region as they begin the 2016 season. The men are ranked No. 2 in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic region while the women come in at No. 3.

*The Quaker men placed second at last year’s NCAA Regional meet to earn an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship, while the women placed sixth overall at the Mid-Atlantic regional.

*The Penn men return a seasoned group of upperclassmen from a team that made their first NCAA Championship appearance since 1975 last year, including five of the top-7 from the NCAA Championship meet. Brendan Shearn, Nick Tuck, Kevin Monogue, Patrick Hally and Ross Wilson will lead the Red and Blue this season along with a group of underclassmen that will push to make the top-7.

*Ashley Montgomery comes back to lead the Quaker women following an individual NCAA qualification last year for cross country. Alongside the 2015 First-Team All-Ivy honoree, the women welcome back all five of their scoring members in Montgomery, Cleo Whiting, Clarissa Whiting, Abby Hongand team captain Isabel Griffith.

*Isabel Griffith and Brendan Shearn have been tabbed as the 2016 cross country captains.