Aug. 29, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The Notre Dame cross country teams earned regional rankings in the preseason polls released by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
The Irish men's team ranks fourth in the Great Lakes Region behind only Big Ten members Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio State. Notre Dame, which finished last season ranked third in the region, is ahead of the other two BIG EAST teams that compete in the Great Lakes Regional, Cincinnati and Marquette.
"It's always nice to receive recognition from the voting committee," said head coach Joe Piane. "But our main goal right now is to build upon each meet and make it back to the NCAA Nationals. We are more concerned about where we end the season ranked, and getting back to nationals will help improve that ranking."
The Notre Dame women's team enters the 2011 season ranked sixth in the Great Lakes Region. The Irish sit behind Michigan, Toledo, Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State in the rankings. The squad ended last season ranked sixth as well.
The Irish kick off the 2011 schedule this Friday, Sept. 2, when they head to the Valparaiso Crusader Invitational in Valparaiso, Ind. The women have won the meet four straight seasons, while the men have claimed the two previous crowns.
The women's 5K race begins at 6 p.m. ET, with the men's 6K race slated for 6:45 p.m. ET.
Piane is entering his 37th year as the head of the men's squad, while Tim Connelly starts his 24th season as head coach of the women's team.
A full recap of the Valparaiso Crusader Invitational can be found at UND.com following Friday's races.
Great Lakes Region - Men's Rankings
3. Ohio State
4. Notre Dame
6. Michigan State
10. Indiana State
11. Eastern Michigan
13. Kent State
Great Lakes Region - Women's Rankings
3. Michigan State
5. Ohio State 6. Notre Dame
7. Central Michigan
8. Miami (Ohio)
11. Indiana State
13. Eastern Michigan