PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s and women’s cross country teams will descend on historic Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Friday for the 2015 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. The men will begin with their 8K at 11 a.m., while the women will race the 6K course at noon. It is the 76th running of the Ivy Heps on the men’s side, and the 38th edition for the women.
Last Time Out...
The Quakers are coming off a sweep of the Princeton Invitational on October 17. The men’s squad topped a 21-team field that featured then-No. 12 Villanova, and in turn earned the Quakers a No. 29 ranking in the latest USTFCCCA national poll. It is the first time since the inception of the poll (1995) that the Quakers have been nationally ranked.
The women were also impressive, finishing first amongst a strong 24-team field that had 10 teams ranked in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Quakers moved up to fifth in the region, following the strong Princeton showing.
Nick Tuck was the top scorer for the men’s team, which notched five runners in the top 12. The junior put together a fifth-place time of 23:59.6, while senior captain Thomas Awad and junior Brendan Shearn placed seventh and eighth respectively. Awad finished with a mark of 24:10.3, while Shearn clocked in at 24:10.8. Rounding out the top ten was sophomore Patrick Hally, who placed 10th with a time of 24:17.6. Senior Clark Shurtleff was the final harrier who notched a score for Penn, rounding the course in 24:22.8 and finishing 12th.
Junior Ashley Montgomery paced the attack on the women’s side, placing fourth with a time of 21:02.6. Sisters, Cleo Whiting and Clarissa Whiting, finished back-to-back at eighth and ninth place respectively. Cleo clocked in at 21:23.5, while Clarissa raced to a time of 21:26.1. Sophomore Isabel Griffith finished 21st with a time of 21:47.8, while sophomore Abby Hong rounded out the Penn scoring with a time of 22:10.2 and a 29th-place finish.
Both the men’s and women’s Ivy League fields feature some of the best teams in their respective regions. Every squad that will be in action on Friday is currently ranked ninth or better in their region according to the latest USTFCCCA polls.
In addition to the regional prominence, Columbia (No. 17) is the second nationally-ranked team in the men’s field (joining Penn) -- while the Lions (No. 25) and Princeton (No. 20) were slotted in the latest poll on the women’s side.
The Princeton men’s team, which won the Ivy League last season, also earned national recognition earlier this season -- slotted 27th in the October 6th poll.
Last Season’s Heps...
The Quakers put together a third-place finish on the men’s side in 2014, while the women finished eighth. Awad was the story, however, becoming just the fourth Quaker to ever win the individual Ivy Heps title and the first since 1975.
On a day in which rain and sloppy terrain was a factor, Awad topped a 93-runner field on Princeton’s home course -- clocking an 8K time of 24:24.1. At this year’s race, Awad will look to become the first back-to-back men’s winner since 1977.
The Whiting sisters are the top returning runners for Penn on the women’s side. Cleo finished 33rd last year with a time of 21:34.9, while Clarissa clocked in right behind with a mark of 21:35.3.
Princeton snagged the team title on the men’s side last season, while Dartmouth claimed the women’s crown.
For updates and live results of Friday’s races, follow @PennTrack and @Ivy_Athletics on Twitter. Video highlights and pictures will also be posted to @PennTrack and @IvyLeagueSports on Instagram. When referring to the 2015 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on social media, please use the hashtag #IvyHeps.
The awards ceremonies for both races will begin at 1 p.m.