Cross Country Teams Begin 2018 At DelVal Invitational Saturday

John Li
John Li

MEDIA, Pa. -- The Penn State Brandywine men's and women's cross country teams will travel to Doylestown to compete at the Delaware Valley University Invitational Saturday morning for the first of six regular-season meets during the 2018 season. Here is a look ahead at the 2018 cross country teams:

THE TEAMS
Brandywine's women's team features a brand new roster with each member of the squad being a newcomer. The team includes freshmen Aileen Flaherty and Catharine Mooney and sophomore transfer Rachel McIntire. All three will also compete for Brandywine's indoor and outdoor track teams during the winter and spring seasons as well.

Brandywine's men's roster is comprised of a pair of returners and three newcomers. Both returners, John Li and Brendan Cleary, competed at the USCAA National Championship last season. Li, a senior, has run at the national championship during three consecutive seasons and is a three-time all-PSUAC runner. He owns seven of the top 10 8K times in school history. Cleary set Brandywine's 8K program record at last year's Blue Apple Invitational as a freshman. He finished 78th in the 166-runner national championship field in 2017. The newcomers include Brian Abel, Ryan Cassidy and Wyatt Levering.

THE COACH
Tim Sanville enters his first season in charge of the Brandywine cross country teams this fall. He took over the Lions' track and field teams prior to the indoor season last winter and helped the men's outdoor track and field team claim an eighth-place showing at the USCAA National Championships. Sanville is a 2012 graduate of Penn State.

THE SCHEDULE
Penn State Mont Alto will serve as the host campus for the Penn State University Athletic Conference championships on October 27, while the USCAA championships return to Virginia Beach, Va., for the third consecutive season 13 days later. During the regular season, Brandywine's schedule is highlighted by a September 22 trip to Mont Alto for the PSUAC championship preview meet. One week later, the Lions travel to Lehigh University for the 45th-annual Paul Short Run, one of the most prestigious cross country races in the region. On Oct. 13, Brandywine hosts the Blue Apple Invitational on its home course.

THE CONFERENCE
Since Penn College's nine-year run as PSUAC men's champion ended in 2012, four different campuses have claimed a league title over the last five years. Penn State Fayette has won two-straight PSUAC championships, while Penn State Greater Allegheny, Penn State Wilkes Barre and Penn State Scranton have all been in the mix each year. Brandywine had finished as the conference runner-up in three-straight seasons prior to 2017.

On the women's side, Brandywine won its lone league crown in 2015. Penn State Scranton has won eight championships since 2007, while Penn State Schuylkill is the conference's defending champion. Individually, Brandywine has placed a runner in the top eight at the conference championship meet during each of the last four seasons.