PHILADELPHIAThe University of Pennsylvania men’s and women’s cross country teams open the 2006-07 season at the Fordham Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y., Saturday.
After a successful 2005 for the Quaker menincluding sending Courtney Jaworski to the NCAA Division I championshipsthe new squad is looking to again be a dominant force in the East Region.
Depth will be this year’s strengthfive returning members were key contributors to the team which finished fourth at Heps and fifth at the NCAA Mid-East Regional last year. These athletes will need to step up their performances to match the top-end strength that Penn has shown the last two seasons. If athletes like senior Ian Foley, junior Brian Goldberg and sophomore Brian Trembley can take over where past NCAA participants like Jaworski, Dusty Lieb and Nolan Tully left off, the harriers will be in fine shape.
The key to any successful team is having five guys work together to finish at the front of the pack. The promise this team has shown throughout the summer could be the missing link which allows them to break into the top of the league. There is no shortage of capable runners. Included in that emerging group are seniors John Brackmann, Mike Cassidy and Mike LaQuaglia.
The junior class has a strong contingent of runners, as well, who have battled all summer long to be part of the scoring group. Those included are Daniel Howard, Reid McEwen and Graham Snow. Some talented underclassmen may extend themselves from their regular track and field events. Watch for sophomores Chris Howell, Sean McGinely and Bryan Scotland to surprise this fall.
As is the case every year, the Quakers add a strong nucleus of freshmen, including Tarik Aougab, Kiley Austin-Young, Brian Cullin, Hersh Singh and Kevin Sullivan. This group has the potential for something special come late October, when the harriers meet in New York for the Heptagonal Cross Country Championships.
On the women’s side, the team returns all of its top seven runners, led by the outstanding talents of junior twins Stacy Kim and Claire Kim. Stacy was among the top 10 runners at the Heptagonal Championshipssetting the Penn mark on the Van Cortland Park course in the processand Claire remains just a few strides behind.
All five Quaker runners broke 19 minutes at Heps, something no other team at Penn has accomplished. Senior Tina Morrison, junior Jamie Liberti and sophomore Leah Brogan are the other runners on this team. With another year of maturity and race experience, these women will challenge in Ivy League and regional competition.
Supporting runners will be seniors Jackie Dunn and Jen Blank, as well as sophomore Kinjal Parikh. Six freshmen will add to this group, providing more depth and strength to this promising team.