BRONX, N.Y. - If today's race was any indication, the Penn women's cross country team has the runners to make this an excellent season. They will have company in the Ivy League, however. The Quakers finished third as a team in the 17-team field and were led by Leslie Kovach's third-place finish individually but ended the day behind Princeton and Yale.
"Overall, I'm very pleased with how things started out for us," said head coach Blake Boldon. "We had some excellent races from a few of our girls and I have no doubt that Leslie could have finished higher if I hadn't stressed a team mentality going in. I think we learned a lot about Princeton and Yale today and now we can take the steps needed to try to catch them."
Despite running alongside teammates early in the race, Kovach made up ground quickly at the tail end of the race and finished within seven seconds of second place. Her final time of 18:17.12 was a nine second improvement over her time last year as a sophomore.
Another important piece of the puzzle this season will be the results of junior Margaret Diacont. The junior was the second Quaker to cross the finish line, her time of 18:45.06 garnering her 14th place overall. Other scorers for Penn were Kersie Jhabvala in 23rd (19:07.73), Lauren Kester in 27th (19:17.16) and Laura Steel in 29th (19:22.17).
"I thought Lauren did great in her first collegiate race and Laura didn't run last season so she did well to get off to a good start," remarked coach Boldon.
The Quakers will race for the second weekend in a row at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx when they join the field in the Iona Meet of Champions next Saturday at 9:30 a.m.