Nov. 23, 2013
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. --- In below-freezing temperatures, the Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams lined up to compete in their fourth and third respective NCAA Championships this afternoon. The men finished 23rd of 31 while the women took 29th place of 31 teams.
The men were coming off a third-place finish at the Great Lakes NCAA Regionals where the women finished fourth. The men finished six places higher than their 28th-place finish in 2012 and had a total of 484 points. Men's head coach Joe Piane said the improvement from last year was one of the positives of the day.
"Just getting to the meet puts us in the top 10 percent of all the Division I teams in the NCAA," Piane said. "You get any better than that, that's something they should be proud of. Could we have run better sure? But it was still successful."
Senior Martin Grady was the first man across the finish line for the Irish, completing the 10-kilometer race in 30:43.3 and securing a 35th-place finish. His performance also earns the senior All-America honors. Grady became the first Irish runner on either side to earn All-America accolades since Patrick Smyth in 2008.
Due to injuries, fifth-year student Jeremy Rae was unable to compete in last year's NCAA finals, but this year he came in 84th place with a time of 31:11.1. The Irish also had a strong showing from younger student-athletes, as sophomores Michael Clevenger (31:36.0) and Timothy Ball (32:18.2) finished in the top five for the Irish at 132nd and 201st, respectively. Graduate student J.P. Malette also finished in 145th place with a time of 31:45.8.
The women had a total of 688 points. Senior Kelly Curran finished the six-kilometer race with a time of 21:16.6, earning her a 94th place finish. Fellow senior and co-captain Alexa Aragon was less than 10 seconds behind her, finishing in 114th place with a time of 21:25.0. Sophomore Molly Seidel completed the race in 171st place (21:48.8), and a pair of juniors, Emily Frydrych (22:26.5) and Gabby Gonzales (22:47.5) rounded out the top five for the Irish with 231st and 241st place finishes.
"We didn't go in and perform the way we had planned to and hoped to," said head women's coach Tim Connelly. "We don't feel very good about the way we represented ourselves. A lot of things went wrong, but we just didn't run well."
Connelly adds that he hopes the student-athletes are looking forward to the start of track season in a few weeks to shake off the disappointment of the cross country finish. Both teams have a short break before the indoor track and field season begins with the Blue & Gold Meet Dec. 6 at the Loftus Sports Center.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant
Men's Team (31 Teams)
23. Notre Dame - 484 Points
Men's Individual (254 Runners)
35. Martin Grady - 30:43.3
84. Jeremy Rae - 31:11.1
132. Michael Clevenger - 31:36.0
145. J.P. Malette - 31:45.8
201. Tim Ball - 32:18.2
212. Jake Kildoo - 32:29.8
235. Walter Schafer - 33:04.1
Women's Team (31 Teams)
29. Notre Dame - 688 Points
Women's Individual (254 Runners)
94. Kelly Curran - 21:16.6
114. Alexa Aragon - 21:25.0
171. Molly Seidel - 21:48.8
231. Emily Frydrych - 22:26.5
241. Gabby Gonzales - 22:47.5
247. Sydni Meunier - 23:00.0
251. Hannah Eckstein - 23:17.9