PHILADELPHIA - The women's cross country team faces a tough test on Friday morning when they compete in the 39th annual Paul Short Invitational. A crowded field of 40 teams will toe the line in the Gold Race, beginning at 11:45 a.m. from the campus of Lehigh University.
Among those 40 teams, three are ranked in the Top 10 nationally while another 15 are ranked in the Division I regional rankings. That number includes the Quakers, who are ranked ninth in the Mid-Atlantic Region, slipping a spot in the poll after not competing since the Iona Meet of Champions two weeks ago. Penn will be competing against five other Ivy League institutions in the race. All but Columbia and Princeton (who are sending a secondary squad) will be matched in the same group as the Red and Blue.
A year ago, wet conditions muddied the course and slowed down times across the board. Missing a couple key members of the team including co-captain Leslie Kovach, Penn finished 30th out of 45 schools in the race. Margaret Diacont was the first Quaker across the line, finishing the 6K race in 22:32.
Penn will have another two-week break before competing again. A handful of individuals will take part in the Haverford Invitational on the afternoon of Oct. 11, but no team scoring will take place in that race. Two days later, a full squad will travel to Lafayette for the Leopard Invitational, beginning at 10 a.m.