HepsXC15 Previews – Penn Men

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It’s still not too late to join in on the HepsXC fun.  Let us know on facebook if you can join us in the Bronx on Friday.  We have had over 230 people announce they will be attending, including professional alumni Donn Cabral and Kyle Merber.  In addition, feel free to share your predictions of the team battles through Letsrun prediction polls or through their forum.  Free to join.  Back to the team previews.

The Penn Quakers will send a veteran heavy squad to the 2015 Heps XC Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York. The team as a whole looks to improve upon their third place team finish from last year’s championship, with big dreams of bringing home the team title.  They are on a roll as they come into this year’s championships with their highest ever national ranking (#29).

Among returning athletes for Penn is senior Thomas Awad, captain of the men’s team and last year’s Heps XC champion. This year, Awad had a late start to the season competing in his first race at the Notre Dame Invitational on October 2. Junior Nicholas Tuck has continued to rank as the top scorer for several races this season for the Quakers, including the Princeton Invitational. As a sophomore, Tuck finished 36th at the Heps Championships but this steeplechase champion could be the lead finisher for Penn if Awad has an off day.

Junior Brendan Shearn and senior Brendan Smith will also compete at the Heps XC Championship this year. Both men have the potential to finish in the top fifteen at the championships based on their season performances so far. Junior Christopher Halter, who competed at Heps XC last year, will be back to help teammates Patrick Halley and Ross Wilson in their pursuit to score for the Quakers. But the biggest surprise performance for the Quakers could come from freshman Kurt Convey who has had an impressive XC season this far, running the fastest time of any freshman in the field at the Big 5 Invitational, in addition to posting several top ten finishes for Penn in his first season.  All of these men will need to be on top of their game if they want to get their team goal of bringing home the team trophy.

 – Nell Smith

photo by Bill Shearn

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