Sept. 3, 2010
VALPARAISO, Ind. - The men's and women's cross country teams got their seasons off to a successful start as both squads claimed team crowns at the 22nd Valparaiso Crusader Open, held Friday, Sept. 3 at Sunset Hills Park in Valparaiso, Ind.
"The pack stayed together through four-kilometers," veteran coach Joe Piane says. "After that, it was great to see four freshmen leading the race. It will really bode well for the rest of our season."
The Notre Dame men claimed the title with ease, taking the top four spots in the race. Senior Paul Springer (Unionville HS, Kennett Square, Pa.) won the individual title with a time of 19:34.50, classmate Thomas Noel (Trinity HS, Louisville, Ky.) finished second in 19:35.12. He was followed closely by freshman Darryl Varney (North Andover HS, North Andover, Mass.) in 19:35.45, who crossed the finish line just ahead of freshman Kevin Jacobs (Hononegah HS, Roscoe, Ill.) in 19:36.01.
Michael Tripp (McQuaid Jesuit HS, Rochester, NY) finished sixth overall, crossing the line in 10:01.68, followed by junior Thomas Pesch (Plainview-Elgin-Millville HS, Elgin, Minn.) in 20:11.75 for a seventh-place finish. Another rookie runner, Patrick Smith (Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill.) came in eighth place overall with a time of 20:12.08.
The Irish claimed first scoring just 16 points. Valparaiso was second with 61 points, followed by Wisconsin-Green Bay in third with 66 points. Grace College was fourth with 106 points.
On the women's side, the Irish scored 26 points to edge out Western Michigan (27 points). Finishing third was Valparaiso with 78 points, followed by IPFW scoring 116 points and Wisconsin-Green Bay with 129 points.
"Western Michigan ran a great race and has definitely improved over the last year," head coach Tim Connelly says. "Overall, we needed to run more competitively, but now with one race under our belt we will use this as a learning experience."
The top finisher for the Irish was junior Susanna Sullivan (George Mason HS, Falls Church, Va.) as she was clocked in at 18:17.50. Junior Molly Hirt (Bloomington North HS, Bloomington, Ind.) crossed the finishline for a third-place finish in 18:35.10.
Freshman Ryan Russ (J.K. Mullen HS, Golden, Colo.) in 18:52.44 for sixth place, followed by junior Kari Johnson in 18:56.61 crossing the line seventh overall in the race. Junior Gena Blyer, the ninth place finisher, posted a time of 18:57.67.
The Irish will return to Notre Dame's campus to host the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 17th at the Notre Dame Golf Course.