Nov. 9, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - The University of Notre Dame women's cross country team took third place at the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional, claiming five all-region honorees, while the men finished fifth, bringing home three all-region recipients, Friday afternoon on the Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course.
The women's race, which featured 32 teams, saw the Irish finish with a team score of 89 points, coming within 12 points of second-place Michigan St. Notre Dame easily averted fourth-place Butler as the Bulldogs crossed the century-mark with 144 points.
Junior Kelly Curran (Bloomington, lll.) led the charge for the Irish finishing 10th in a field of 218 participants with a time of 20:12. Senior Rebecca Tracy (Barrington, lll.) crossed the finish line at 20:48 (15th), and not far behind was freshman Molly Seidel (Hartland, Wis.), who stopped the clock at 20:50 sliding into 19th place. Seidel was just one of four freshman to finish in the 50.
Sophomore Hannah Eckstein (Middletown, N.J.) placed 22nd with a time of 20:53 and junior Alexa Aragon (Billings, Mont.) left no gap in between as she finished 23rd with a time of 20:56, claiming the last all-region honor for Notre Dame.
"We ran our most complete race of the year today," said women's head coach Tim Connelly. "We were aggressive and confident from the beginning and it showed in the results. I like our chances to get an at-large spot in championship meet."
Junior Julie Accurso from Ohio University was the medalist in the six-kilometer event, finishing with a time of 20:07, holding off Butler's Katie Clark by just three seconds.
On the men's side, Mohammed Ahmed led the Badgers to a first-place team finish (43 points), as the senior outlasted the entire field of 204 participants in stopping the clock at 30:37 in the 10-kilometer race.
Wisconsin eluded second-place Michigan (73 points) by 30 points in the field of 30 teams. Notre Dame (122 points) stayed close to fourth-place Michigan St. (113 points) and easily surpassed sixth-place Miami (OH), who scored 214 points.
Junior Martin Grady (Burr Ridge, lll.) was the first Irish runner through on the men's side, finishing in ninth-place with a time of 31:02. Junior Walter Schafer (Centennial, Colo.) stopped the clock at 21:37 for 18th. Senior J.P. Malette (Windsor, Ont.) just squeezed into the top-25, to receive his all-region honor after finishing 23rd with a time of 31:46.
Sophomore Jake Kildoo (Grove City, Pa.) finished in 31st-place with a time of 31:55. Senior Jeff MacMillian (Mattawan, Mich.) crossed the finish line at 32:13 and junior DJ Thornton (Rahway, N.J.) finished in 73rd with a 32:47. Senior Jeremy Rae (Fort Erie, Ont.) retired shortly after the two-kilometer mark due to injury.
"We really feel the difference in today's race was Jeremy not being able to finish because of an injury," said men's head coach Joe Piane. "A top-10 or top-15 finish out of one of our top runners would have put us in third. Regardless, we had some really strong performances today and we'll just wait and see if we get a shot at going to the NCAA Championships."
Late Friday night both teams received at-large bids to next Saturday's NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky. For the men its there 11th bid since 2000, while the women received their ninth bid since 2000.
Women's Team Results
3. Notre Dame: 89 Points
Women's Individual Results
10. Kelly Curran: 20:40 (All-Region)
15. Rebecca Tracy: 20:48 (All-Region)
19. Molly Seidel: 20:50 (All-Region)
22. Hannah Eckstein: 20:53 (All-Region)
23. Alexa Aragon: 20:56 (All-Region)
31. Jessica Rydberg: 21:06
40. Meg Ryan: 21:27
Men's Team Results
5. Notre Dame: 122 Points