Cross Country Gears Up for Heptagonal Championship

The Penn men’s and women’s cross country teams will test their strength against their rival Ivies Friday in New York at the 2006 Heptagonal Championships.

The men’s team, scheduled to race at 10:45 a.m. at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, will be facing consistent competition. The favorite to capture the title on the men’s side is Dartmouth, which has won the championship sixteen times, though Princeton held the crown three straight years from 1997-99 and were runners-up to Dartmouth last year.

The League coaches and teams are on the lookout for Dartmouth’s Ben True, last year’s victor, and Steve Muchetti, as well as Michael Maag and Dave Nightingale from Princeton who have been standouts this season.

Penn came in fourth place last year, and have been in the top five all season. Penn head coach Charlie Powell emphasized his team’s strength as being a team rather than having a front-runner. Led by junior Brian Goldberg and senior Ian Foley -- who have led the team in their top 10 finishes at the last two invitationals -- Penn is poised to compete at Heps.

In addition to Goldberg and Foley, sophomore Brian Trembley has been a consistent scorer for the Quakers. Rounding out the usual suspects for Penn are Michael LaQuaglia, Reid McEwen and Larry Contrella.

Friday is also the big day for the Penn women’s cross country team in its quest for the Heptagonal Championship, also at Van Cortlandt Park. Scheduled to start at 11:45 a.m., the women’s side is also shaping up to be a battle.

Head Coach Gwen Harris said, “Everyone in the League comes loaded for bear at Heps. It is really anyone’s game. Princeton and Columbia are both excellent teams, but at a meet like this, where everyone is there to fight, anything can happen.”

Columbia has captured four consecutive Heps, while Princeton is ranked 22nd in the latest poll with strong results this season.

In the individual competition, Lindsay Donaldson of Yale is a favorite, but also in contention are Penn juniors Stacy and Claire Kim. Most recently, at the Lafayette Invite, Stacy won the race while Claire placed third, and both finished well ahead of any Princeton or Columbia runners. As a team, Penn scored won that race coming in ahead of their Ivy rivals.

Rounding out Penn’s traditional scorers this season are Leah Brogan, Kinjal Parikh, Tina Morrison and Carol Xu.