Depth was one thing the men’s cross country team knew it had heading into the 2005 fall season. A few things the Quakers didn’t know was how they would use their depth and who would be the characters involved.
Senior veteran Courtney Jaworski, who specializes in the middle distance, showed why he was one of the main characters this fall, beginning the fourth NCAA qualifier in four years. He steadily improved throughout 2004 and did just the same this fall. Jaworski helped the Quakers finish among the top teams in almost all of their races this season, but he had a little help from his friends. Fellow senior Breton Bonnette, junior Ian Foley, sophomore Brian Goldberg and freshman Brian Tremblay helped in the Quakers garner a little more success than was expected this season.
In the season opener, Bonnette led the Red and Blue to a fourth-place showing at the Fordham Invitational with a 10th-place finish. Foley followed in 17th place, while four more Quakers finished in the top-35.
A core of underclassmen led Penn to its third-straight Delaware Invitational title. Tremblay was the top finisher for the Quakers he came in second overall. Sophomore Larry Contrella was right on his heels in third place, while classmate Reid McEwen and junior Michael LaQuaglia finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Rounding out the top-10 were junior James Roat and sophomore Mick Lovejoy in ninth and 10th, respectively.Bill Young placed 13th to finish out the Quaker scoring.
Penn finished seventh at the Paul Short Run, a meet that features several of the top-30 teams in the nation and five of this year’s top-50 individual finishers at the NCAA Championships. The Penn contingent was led by Jaworski’s 25th-place finish. Bonnette placed 37th and Goldberg was 69th.
The Quakers showed a lot of promise in its final meet before the conference championships. Jaworski’s eighth-place showing propelled the Red and Blue to a sixth-place finish. Tremblay was the second Quaker to cross the finish line in 28th place, while Goldberg was 44th and Bonnette was 58th. Penn finished just two points behind NCAA qualifier Providence.
At the League meet six newcomers ran for the first time while the rest of the squad were making only their second and third appearances at the conference meet. The Red and Blue finished fourth, just 13 points behind third-place Brown. Jaworski finished ninth overall and earned second-team All-Ivy League honors for his performance. The Quakers then packed their second through fifth runners about as tight as you can get-- Bonette was second across the line for the Quakers, placing 21st overall in 25:24.1, Goldberg was right on his heels and finished 22nd in 25:24.3, andTremblay was 24th overall in 25:28.5, and Foley was 27th in 25:33.0. They were separated by a grand total of nine seconds.
The following week, Jaworski placed third at the NCAA Regional Championships and automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. It was the third time in four years a member of the Penn cross country made its way to the National Championship Race. Four Quakers finished in the top-55 at the Regionals to give Penn the fifth spot.
A group of Quakers competed the following weekend at the IC4A Championships, where they placed 19th. In Indiana, Jaworski finished 79th out of 253 runners in his first NCAA Championship appearance.
At the end of the fall campaign the cast of characters played out. Penn had a top-four finish at the Heptagonal Championships, a NCAA qualifier and three of Penn’s top-five conference finishers returning next year.