Aug 26, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - With overcast skies and temperatures in the low 70's, the University of Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams kicked off the 2013 preseason with an hour-plus practice as the sun began to rise Monday morning on campus.
Sixty-three runners (34 men, 29 women) participated in a light run and abdominal work at 7 a.m. before separating for a variety of meetings throughout the day. The upperclassmen had a positive transitions seminar through Notre Dame's Student Welfare and Development office, while the freshmen met with their advisors regarding classes as well other mandatory meetings.
"We run hard about three days a week," said women's head coach Tim Connelly. "The other days involve normal runs with some other activities. Today was a good kickoff to the 2013 preseason before we ramp up the intensity Tuesday."
On the same day as the opening of preseason, the year's first regional rankings came out from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Both Irish teams were picked third in the Great Lakes Region. The men are behind Wisconsin, who has won 11 regional meets in a row, and in-state foe Indiana. The women are behind Big Ten teams Michigan State and Michigan.
The preseason national coaches poll will be revealed Tuesday.
Notre Dame is coming off a 2012 season that saw both teams perform well at the BIG EAST meet (W: 5rd, M: 3th), before qualifying for the NCAA Championships with strong showings at the Great Lakes Regional meet (W: 3rd, M: 5th). At the NCAAs the women's squad placed 15th, their highest showing since 2005, while the men took 28th, as they were competing without standout Jeremy Rae.
All six runners that competed at the NCAA meet return on the men's side including a healthy Rae, while the women welcome back four runners.
Also back are Irish veteran coaches in men's head coach Joe Piane (39th season) and women's head coach Connelly (26th season).
The rest of the week will see the Irish alternate between tempo runs and normal runs combined with stretching drills to get ready for the season opener in a few short weeks. With the August weather kicking into gear, the coaches will either shift afternoon practices to the morning or trim down afternoon runs to a safer distance as temperatures are expected to reach the 90's for much of the rest of the week.
For more information on Notre Dame cross country follow the program on Facebook (Facebook.com/NDXCTF) or on Twitter (@NDXCTF).