July 18, 2017
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame cross country team announced on Monday that it has added 16 student-athletes to its roster heading into the 2017 season. The Irish welcome 13 freshmen and three graduate student transfers this year.
The men’s cross country team added 11 student-athletes, including three graduate student transfers, while the women’s cross country squad gained five new faces.
The men’s cross country team boasts an incredibly youthful and talented roster after several underclassmen competed against some of the region’s top athletes last season. The men’s team will look to nine returning student-athletes and will rely heavily on the leadership of senior Kevin Pulliam and junior Anthony Williams.
Pulliam, who sat out much of the past year due to injury, returned to the track this spring and finished 15th in the 5,000m race (14:29.80) at the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in May and qualified for the NCAA Regionals First Round in the 10,000m (29:50).
Williams recorded a time of 24:02.1 at the ACC Cross Country Championships last fall and will look to build off of his performance throughout his junior year.
Sophomore Ryan Schweizer also will try to build off of his freshman track and field season, which was capped by a third-place finish (3:49.04) in the 1,500m race at the USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championships in June.
Freshman Yared Nuguse enters his first collegiate season with several championships under his belt. Nuguse won the Kentucky Cross Country State Championship as well as the 800m, 1,600m and 3,200m races at the Kentucky Class AAA Track & Field Championships his senior year.
On the women’s side, Notre Dame returns 12 student-athletes, including reigning ACC Cross Country Champion Anna Rohrer.
Rohrer will be counted on to lead the Irish alongside fellow junior Annie Heffernan and seniors Jessica Harris and Lexi Pelletier. Heffernan finished sixth (20.05.0) at the ACC Cross Country Championship in 2016 and is expected to be a household name for the Irish this season. Pelletier placed 23rd (20:43.9) at the ACC Championships in 2016.
Freshman Anna Sophia Keller, who won 11 high school state championships between cross country and track in Illinois, likely will have an immediate impact on the team this fall.
For a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the Irish track and field program, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter.
Women’s Cross Country Bios:
Mary Clare Leonard
(Marist High School; Orland Park, Ill.)
- Was named All-State two times.
- Is a three-time cross country regional champion.
- Placed 10th at the state cross country meet her sophomore year.
- Owns PRs of 5:01 (Mile), 11:01 (2-Mile) and 17:06 (3-Mile).
- Named co-salutatorian of her class.
- Earned the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior -- the 2017 Marist Faculty Award.
- Won the Faculty Award at MHS, is an Illinois State Scholar and is a member of the National Honor Society.
- Sister Annemarie is a senior at Notre Dame.
- Plans to major in Computer Science or Accounting.
(St. Anthony High School; Effingham, Ill.)
- Was named All-State 11 times.
- 11-time state champion (four times in the 1,600m, three times in the 3,200m and four times in cross country).
- Owns a PR of 10:22.16 in the 3,200m.
- Was selected as the Gatorade Illinois Runner of the Year twice in her career.
- Is the cross country state record holder for division 1A.
- Was Vice President of National Honor Society.
- Was a member of the Spanish Club, Pep Club and Catholic Athletes for Christ.
(Hamilton High School; Hamilton City, Calif.)
- Owns a PR of 11:01.42 in the 3,200m.
(Pana High School; Pana, Ill.)
- Was runner up at the Illinois cross Country state championship her senior year.
- Was named All-State seven times.
- Owns PRs of 5:02.65 (1,600m) and 10:51.11 (3,200m).
- Named co-valedictorian of her class.
- Illinois State Scholar.
- Member of the National Honor Society.
- Intends to study pre-professional studies at Notre Dame.
(Francis Parker High School; San Diego, Calif.)
- Finished in third at the California State Cross Country Championships her senior year.
- Also placed 16th freshman year, 10th her sophomore year, and 9th as a junior at the State Championships.
- Played four years of soccer in high school.
- Named captain of the soccer team her senior year.
- Treasurer of the Community Engagement Board.
- Named a Reilley Scholar
- Member of the Cum Laude Society.
- Brother Blake is a sophomore at Notre Dame.
- Plans to major in business.
Men’s Cross Country Bios:
(University of Tulsa; Toronto Canada)
- Owns PRs of 1:48 (800m) and 3:47 (1,500m).
(Georgetown University; Louisville, Ky.)
- Placed 30th at the NCAA Atlantic Cross Country Regional.
- Owns a PR of 14:18 in the 5,000m.
(University of Birmingham UK; Woodbridge, UK)
- Placed 11th at the 2016 Junior English National Cross-Country Championships.
(Neil McNeil High School; Toronto, Canada)
- Competed at the U20 World Cross Country Championships where he finished 84th.
- OFSAA Cross Country Champion.
- Owns a PR of 8:27 in the 3,000m.
(Dupont Manual High School; Louisville, Ky.)
- Won the Kentucky Cross Country State Championship.
- Placed first in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m at the Kentucky Class AAA Track and Field Championships his senior year.
- Owns PRs of 4:06 (Mile) and 9:06 (3,200m).
(Lake Zurich High School; Lake Zurich, Ill.)
- Owns PRs of 9:02 (3,200m) and 4:12 (1,600m).
(Norwood-Norfolk High School; Norwood, N.Y.)
- Won the New York State Cross Country Championship.
- Owns a PR of 9:16 in the 3200m.
(St. Thomas Aquinas; Overland Park, Ks.)
- Won the Kansas State Cross Country State Championship.
(Pontiac Notre Dame Prep; Pontiac, Mich.)
- Was the runner up at the Michigan Cross Country Championship.
- Owns a PR time of 9:14 in the 3200m.
(Lyons Township High School; Lyons Township, Ill.)
- Owns PR times of 4:14 in the 1600m and 14:22 in the 3 mile.
(Pendleton High School; Pendleton, Ind.)
- Placed fourth in the 1600m at the Indiana Track State Championships with a time of 4:12.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer and cross country/track and field programs and is the secondary contact for women’s basketball. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.