Princeton, N.J. - The men's cross country team finished seventh on Saturday at the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country Championships, eclipsing Brown but finishing behind the other six members of the Ancient Eight with 185 points. Princeton, racing on its home course, won its third straight Heps cross country title, wrapping up the race with just 26 points. Columbia followed behind in second place with 58 points.
For the fourth consecutive race dating back to the Iona Meet of Champions, freshman Brendan Smith was Penn's top finisher, wrapping up Saturday's 8K in a time of 24:30.3 to finish 27th overall. Freshman Thomas Awad was second for the Quakers, crossing the line in 24:44.8 to come in 33rd. Senior Mike Kiley had far and away his best race of the season, finishing 36th overall in 24:49.3 and lopping a full minute off his previous best time this season. Freshman Brandon Clark (39th, 24:52.3) and senior Kevin Foy (50th, 25:19.1) were Penn's other two scorers on the day.
It was a massive improvement for the Quakers compared to their showing from just one year ago. The Red and Blue cut down their score by 48 points and improved their average time by nearly 80 seconds among the five scorers. All seven racers for Penn on Saturday ran a faster time than the best time the team had at last year's event. As has been the case throughout the season, the Quaker freshmen impressed. Smith was the third Heps rookie across the finish line and the three freshmen scorers for Penn were among the top-eight freshmen finishers among all Ivy League schools.
The Quakers get back to action in two weeks, racing at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional at Penn State on Nov. 9. That race will have an 11 a.m. start time in State College.