Aug 28, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Despite the University of Notre Dame joining the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, the 2013 men's and women's cross country schedule looks very similar to previous years - with one exception. Instead of heading to the Northeast for the BIG EAST Championship meet, the Irish will head to the Southeast for the ACC league meet.
The first ACC meet in program history takes place Friday, Nov. 1 in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Wake Forest playing host.
Following the league meet, the Irish head to Madison, Wis., for the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals Friday, Nov. 15. Last year the women took third and the men placed fifth to earn at-large invitations to the NCAA Championship.
The NCAA meet makes its return to Terre Haute, Ind., and the LaVern Gibson National Championship Cross Country Course after one year away. The course has played host to elite teams and runners in nine of the last 10 seasons. This year's meet is slated for Saturday, Nov. 23. Last year the women placed an impressive 15th, while the men claimed 28th without track & field All-American and cross country all-region performer Jeremy Rae, who was out with an injury.
"What we try to do with our schedule is compete in some big meets that can help us get at-large points in order to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet," said men's head coach Joe Piane. "This year we have three of those sort of meets on the schedule - the Notre Dame and Wisconsin Invitationals and the ACC Championships. We structure the schedule every year with this idea in mind. Last year the men's team wouldn't have gotten in the field without those at-large points."
Notre Dame's regular season looks the same as the last several before it. The Irish open up with the Crusader Invitational in Valparaiso, Ind., Friday, Sept. 6, before playing host to the annual National Catholic Championships (Friday, Sept. 20) and the Notre Dame Invitational (Friday, Oct. 4). Both meets will be at the Notre Dame Golf Course, which is the on-campus nine-hole course that was formerly called the Burke Golf Course.
The National Catholic Championships have been run every year since 1980 on the men's side and 1984 on the women's side.
A staple since 1956 on the men's side and 1987 on the women's side, the Notre Dame Invitational routinely welcomes in many of the nation's elite programs.
The Irish wrap up the regular season at the Wisconsin Invitational (Saturday, Oct. 19). The elite meet welcomes in some of the best teams in the country year in and year out. Last year the Irish women placed 12th, while the men's squad took 26th.
The 2013 preseason is in full swing as the Irish have practiced daily in the South Bend heat since Monday. After learning that each team was picked third in the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Coaches Poll Monday, Notre Dame found out its preseason national ranking Tuesday. The Irish women will start the season 18th, while the men are 22nd. After a day off Wednesday, the Irish will kick it back into gear Thursday with practice from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
For complete coverage of Notre Dame cross country as the season gets closer, stay tuned to UND.com, Facebook.com/NDXCTF and @NDXCTF on Twitter.
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director