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    March 24, 1998

    Ryan Shay Places 20th at Junior World Cross Country Championship

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame freshman Ryan Shay (Central Lake, Mich./Central Lake) placed 20th at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Marrakech, Morocco, this past weekend for the best finish for an American and the best finish for any non-African in the 200-plus field. He helped the U.S. team to a seventh-place finish in the championship, the best finish for the Americans since a fifth-place finish in 1988. Ethiopia took the team championship as Ethiopian Million Wolde won the race in 22:47.

    Shay ran the five-mile race in 24:20 to give the United States its highest finish for an individual since Jason Casiano finished 17th in 1992. Shay becomes the latest in a line of Notre Dame cross country runners to represent the U.S. in the World Junior Cross Country Championships. Current Irish runners Jason Rexing and Antonio Arce ran in the race in 1995 and 1996 as did former Notre Dame runner John Coyle in 1990.

    Shay, who came to Notre Dame after a standout career at Central Lake High School in Central Lake, Mich., completed a freshman season in which he helped the Irish win their first BIG EAST championship and place 12th at the NCAA championships. As a team, the Irish were recognized by the United State Cross Country Coaches Association as a 1997 All-Academic Team with Rexing named an All-Academic performer.

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