XC had Strong Showing at Belmont Plateau

Men's results | Women's results
PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania cross country teams competed in their first race of the 2013 season. The Quakers travelled to the Belmont Plateau to compete in the Friend Big 5 Invitational hosted by Temple.

The weather was perfect for running as the women and men stretched and prepared themselves for the 4K and 6K, respectively. Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Steve Dolan was looking to see his teams run in a pack to push and support each other. Even though the race between the Big 5 schools was not scored, Penn used this as a building block – to see where the athletes are and where they need to grow.

As the women waited for the gun signal, the anticipation of the first race did not seem to faze them. During the run, the Red and Blue stuck to the game plan and ran as one unit, even if it meant falling behind the other schools. After 2,000m, the Quakers started to kick it into high gear and gain ground in the race. Emerging from the pack was freshman Cleo Whiting, who finished third overall and first for Penn, 14:29.37.

“I am very pleased with my first race in college,” said Whiting. “The women’s team supported each other the whole time and made the end very successful. I can’t wait for the rest of the season because every week we show improvement”

Along with capturing third place, Penn also came in 4th -- Elyssa Gensib (14:33.89), 5th -- Madison Holleran (14:36.41), 6th -- Gabrielle Cuccia (14:37.57), and 7th -- Chelsea Delaney (14:44.81).

Once the women had completed the 4K, the men were ready to take on the competition in the 6K. The goal for the Red and Blue was to stick to the course, set a good pace, and run together. Senior Conor Nickel, who trained an extensive amount over the summer, rose to the front and led the team. Nickel finished first for the Quakers and tenth overall, 18:58.36.

“We were looking for a solid team-based effort to start the season off on the right foot, and that’s exactly what we got today,” said Nickel. “We had a solid pack up near the front for the first part of the race, and we were still able to pick it up and finish strong. This was a great first step, and we’re looking forward to stepping up the distance in the upcoming races.”

With a positive outlook for the season, the Quakers will next compete in the Main Line Invitational hosted by Haverford College on Thursday, September 26.