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seidel.jpg Other teams better watch out. Notre Dame's got a highly touted recruit arriving next year who's ready to have an immediate impact from day one. This kid is talented, smart, and incredibly athletic. I think the Irish have got a great building block here.

And before you guess, no, I'm not talking about incoming quarterback Gunnar Kiel. I'm talking about the Gatorade National Runner of the Year and a future member of the Notre Dame cross country team, Molly Seidel.

While she may not have gotten as much attention on campus as the highly touted quarterback or other football recruits, Seidel's credentials can stack up with any one of them. Seidel, who hails from Hartland, Wis., was a four-time first team all-state performer and also won four consecutive Wisconsin Division 3 individual state titles. She won the National Foot Locker Cross Country Championships this past cross country season with a time of 17:22.

"I think that Molly is very talented, but I also think that she's incredibly competitive," said Notre Dame women's cross country head coach Tim Connelly. "And if you put talent and competitiveness together, you're going to have a great athlete."

However, Seidel doesn't just excel as an athlete. She also was a star in the classroom, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA and recognition as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. Seidel also finds time to serve as vice president of her high school's student government, volunteer with several groups and is an active member of St. Joan of Arc Church.

Connelly thinks Seidel will be a great fit in South Bend.

"I think what we look for besides kids who are really talented and kids who are great students, are kids that belong at Notre Dame," said Connelly. "There's a reason beyond academics and running for those kids to come. And I think she's that kind of kid."

Seidel is poised to have a great career running for the Irish. And yet the Irish will not need to rely on their star prospect right away.

"I think she can be an immediate impact," said Connelly. "But I don't think she'll have to come in and carry the whole load because we've got a really good team coming back. And we actually signed a couple of other great recruits, too. So I think it's a situation where Molly's going to be an impact person - there's no doubt in my mind about that. But I don't think she's going to have to come in and do it all by herself. She's going to be part of a great group."

There's no question that she's got the talent, determination, and will to succeed. Molly Seidel will be a key figure for the Irish cross country team for years to come.

- Tom McGuire ('14)

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