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    Fighting Irish

    Sept. 11, 1997

    Notre Dame Cross Country Looks to Improve on 1997 Season

    Notre Dame, Ind. -- Notre Dame's men's and women's cross country teams will attempt to better last year's stellar performances as they gear up for the 1997 season. The men, led by senior All-American Jason Rexing (Pickerington, Ohio), will once again be in the hunt for a top-10 finish at the NCAA cross country championships, while the women, led by sophomore All-American JoAnna Deeter (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) look to return to the NCAA championships for the first time since 1993.

    Season Recap: The men's cross country team continued its success in the 1990's as it finished ninth at the NCAA cross country championships, its fifth top-10 finish in the 1990's. The men's squad also finished first at the District IV meet, the National Catholic Invitational, the Buckeye Invitational, second at the Notre Dame Invitational, and fourth at the BIG EAST Championship. Jason Rexing earned All-American honors with his 26th place finish at the NCAA championships. Seniors Derek Seiling, Matt Althoff and Joe Dunlop finished their Irish careers with their fourth straight trip to the NCAA's. The women's cross country team surprised many as they finished first at the Buckeye Invitational, National Catholic Invitational, the Notre Dame Invitational and fifth at the BIG EAST championships and the District IV meet. JoAnna Deeter had a spectacular freshman season as she earned All-American honors with a third place finish at the NCAA championships.

    On the men's side: Jason Rexing, the team's top finisher at the 1996 NCAA cross country championships, the BIG EAST championship and the District IV meet, will look to lead the Irish as they attempt to improve on their ninth place finish at the NCAA championships. While Rexing will once again provide the Irish with standout performances, gone are usual top-10 finishers Matt Althoff, Joe Dunlop and All-American Derek Seiling, but coach Joe Piane expects to have a solid corps of runners this year with Scott Grace (Oakland, Mich.) and Mike Conway (Springfield, Va.) ready to join Rexing among the top runners on the squad. Grace ran well at the Notre Dame Invitational and the National Catholic meet, while Conway finished 15th at the National Catholic Meet. Juniors Ryan Blaney (Toms River, N.J.) and Tim Engelhardt (East Syracuse, N.Y.) will also be expected to contribute this year as they gained valuable experience last year running at the BIG EAST championship. Sophomore Sean McManus (Hernando, Fla.) ran in seven meets last year, the most of any freshman, and should develop into a strong runner.

    On the women's side: sophomore JoAnna Deeter (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) will once again pace the Irish as she attempts to improve on her stellar freshman season. Deeter won four meets last year, the Buckeye Invitational, the National Catholic Invitational, the Notre Dame Invitational and the District IV meet, and finished third at the NCAA championships, her lowest finish of the year. She will be joined by fellow sophomore Nicole LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio), who finished no lower than 10th in any of her six races. She will look to best her 10th-place finishes at the BIG EAST championships and the District IV meet. Alison Klemmer (Troy, Mich.) will look to be among the top three runners on the squad as she attempts to recover from injuries that sidetracked her during her freshmen year. After the top three, a pack of runners led by fifth-year senior Heidi Reichenbach (Plainfield, Ill.) will look to help the Irish return to the NCAA championships. Senior Janel Kiley (Somerville, Mass.), was a solid runner for the Irish last season and is expected to give the Irish consistent results in 1997. Junior Kelly Peterson (Escondido, Calif.) and sophomore Erin Luby (Inverness, Ill.) will be counted on to finish strong for the Irish as they each placed consistently in the top six of their respective races last year.

    Rexing & Deeter: This is the first year ever that Notre Dame has both a men's and a women's cross country All-American. Senior Jason Rexing and sophomore JoAnna Deeter earned All-American honors with their finishes at the NCAA cross country championships. While Rexing placed 26th, Deeter placed third, the highest finish ever for a Notre Dame woman, and became only the second All-American in women's history.

    Buckeye Invitational: Both men's and women's teams will travel to Ohio State on Friday September 12 to take part in the Buckeye Invitational. The races start at 4:00 p.m. and the Irish will look to repeat last year's performances as both the men's and the women's teams finished first.


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