Oct. 14, 2011
MADISON, Wis. - Battling elite competition only topped by next month's NCAA National Championships, the Notre Dame cross country teams performed admirably, defeating several ranked foes at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis., on Friday.
The women's team knocked off seven ranked opponents, on their way to a 15th-place finish out of 44 teams, while the men's squad claimed 19th out of 39 teams, defeating five ranked opponents.
Rydberg paced the women's squad for the fourth time this season, claiming 36th place out of 305 runners in the 6K race. The Pinetop, Ariz., product crossed the line in 20:46.5, good for a 5:35 pace. At the 3K mark, Rydberg was just three seconds off the lead.
Senior Susanna Sullivan followed behind Rydberg in 81st place (21:08.2). Four spots back was sophomore Alexa Aragon (21:09.2), who finished in 85th. Also scoring for the Irish were junior Rebecca Tracy (136th, 21:30.6) and senior Rachel Velarde (137th, 21:31.1).
The Irish defeated seven ranked foes, setting themselves up to move up in the national rankings. Notre Dame took down BIG EAST foe and No. 2 Providence before dropping Minnesota (No. 21), Florida (No. 22), Iowa (No. 23), BYU (No. 27), Princeton (No. 28) and Clemson (No. 30).
Rae claimed 76th out of 270 runners to lead the way for the Irish men. The Fort Erie, Ontario, native finished the 8K race in 24:41.0, good for a 4:58 pace. Following closely behind Rae was sophomore Martin Grady, who placed 81st in 24:42.6.
The men dropped ranked BIG EAST foes Georgetown (No. 16) and Syracuse (No. 21) and other ranked teams New Mexico (No. 25) and North Carolina (No. 29) to position themselves to move back into the USTFCCCA rankings.
The meet also saw a pair of "B" races, with the women running a 6K and the men racing an 8K.
On the women's side, sophomore McKinzie Schulz (21:49.9) claimed 16th out of 108 runners to lead the Irish.
Senior Randall Babb paced the men with a 19th-place finish out of 88 runners (25:32.3).
The Irish will now prep for the BIG EAST Championships, which will be run two weeks from Friday in Louisville, Ky.