PHILADELPHIA - Following last Friday's impressive opener against La Salle, the women's cross country team hopes to continue its progress with an equally good showing at the Iona Meet of Champions on Saturday morning from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
Penn moved up three spots in the Mid-Atlantic Region this week following its opening race, checking in at No. 8 after starting at No. 11 in the preseason poll. Though moving up from a 4K race last week to a 6K on Saturday will test the endurance of the Quakers, a field that only includes two other teams that are ranked on the regional level - Columbia (No. 8 in the Northeast) and Iona (No. 9 in the Northeast) - presents the Red and Blue with the possibility of capturing the team title.
Last season, the Quakers finished second out of 19 teams, losing by only two points to Iona. Leslie Kovach and Margaret Diacont each posted top 10 finishes in the race. Kovach narrowly edged out her fellow captain, finishing the course in 22:34.96 to Diacont's 22:40.79. Freshmen such as Hannah Grossman (14:43 in last week's 4K) and Amy Darlington (15:00) look to provide depth to Penn's already-strong core.
Next week will be an off weekend from competition for the Quakers. They'll return to action on Sept. 28, facing what will likely be the largest field of the year in the 38th annual Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh.