PHILADELPHIA – After a solid performance at Heptagonal Championships two weeks ago, the University of Pennsylvania men and women cross country teams are gearing up for the NCAA Cross Country Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. This year’s event is being held on Lehigh’s Goodman Campus Cross Country Course on Friday. The men will kick things off with the 10K at noon and will be followed by the women’s 6K at 1:15 p.m.
Lehigh NCAA Regional Site
Regional Championships Central
At Heps, both Penn teams finished sixth among the Ancient Eight teams. Leading the pack for the men was sophomore Thomas Awad, whose finish (third overall) was the best for a Quaker since Dave Merrick placed first in 1975. Next in for the Red and Blue and finishing under 25 minutes were sophomore Brendan Smith, freshman Brendan Shearn, and senior captains Conner Paez and Conor Nickel.
Crossing the line within six places of each other and under 22 minutes for the women were freshman Cleo Whiting, twin sister Clarissa Whiting, sophomore Gabriella Cuccia, and sophomore Elyssa Gensib.
Out of the 39 teams in the region, Penn’s performance kept the women in eighth and the men in ninth among the USTFCCCA regional rankings.The Red and Blue will once again see both the men and women from Princeton, as the Tigers' teams are ranked nationally. The men will also see familiar faces from Villanova, who is ranked 20th nationally. The women will also share the field with three other nationally ranked teams: Penn State (30), West Virginia (24), and Georgetown (4).
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships are one of nine races this weekend that will determine the field for the NCAA Championships. After the teams are in place, an additional 38 individuals per gender are selected to compete. From the teams not selected, the top four finishers at each regional are automatically selected.