VALPARAISO, Ind. -- The Notre Dame cross country squads kicked off the 2011 season with a pair of second place showings at the Valparaiso Crusader Invitational on Friday in Valparaiso, Ind.
Junior Jessica Rydberg claimed second place on the women's side in 18:04.9, while sophomore transfer Patrick Lesiewicz finished third on the men's side in 15:48.5 to pace the Irish.
With no runners from the 2010 NCAA Regionals competing in either race, men's head coach Joe Piane and women's head coach Tim Connelly used a mixture of rookie and veteran runners to navigate through the first meet of the year.
"I was pleased with how some of our young guys ran in this first meet," said Piane. "We held out nine of our top guys and Marquette ran its top runners, so they deserved to win. This meet doesn't hurt our chances at the NCAA Championships, and we look forward to facing off with Marquette again in a couple of weeks at the National Catholic Invitational."
"Some of our younger runners ran well in spurts, but will have to learn how to compete for the whole 5K," said Connelly. "It was really good to see Jessica (Rydberg) back out there racing. She will be a key part of our team, but she still has a long ways to go to get back to the level we need her to be at in order to help our team at the end of the season."
Joining Rydberg in the top 10 were a trio of Irish runners. Freshmen Gabby Gonzales (18:32.4) and Emily Frydrych (18:38.1) finished fifth and sixth, respectively, while senior Susanna Sullivan (18:54.8) placed ninth. Senior Allison Schroeder's (19:05.4) score was the final to count for the Irish, as she claimed 11th.
On the men's side, Lesiewicz was joined in the top 10 by sophomore DJ Thornton (15:58.7), who finished fifth, and freshman Jason Hoard (16:04.4), who placed sixth. Freshman Chris Quinn (16:22.4) and sophomore Patrick Smith (16:30.4) finished 11th and 14th, respectively, and were the final two scores to count for Notre Dame.
BIG EAST rival Marquette won the men's race with a low score of 22, while Northwestern won the women's race with a low score of 25. Marquette's Blake Johnson claimed the men's individual crown, and Northwestern's Audrey Huth won the women's individual title.
The Irish return to action in two weeks when they host the National Catholic Invitational on Friday, Sept. 16. The men's race is a Notre Dame signature since 1980 and since 1984 on the women's side. The women's 5K race begins at 4:15 p.m., while the men's five mile race is slated for 5 p.m. Additional information on the National Catholic Invitational will become available on UND.com in the coming week.
Men's Overall Results (Out Of 4 Teams)
2. Notre Dame 38 Points
Men's Individual Results (Out Of 53 Runners)
3. Patrick Lesiewicz 15:48.5
5. DJ Thornton 15:58.7
6. Jason Hoard 16:04.4
11. Chris Quinn 16:22.4
14. Patrick Smith 16:30.4
15. Jeff McMillian 16:31.8
17. Ryan Nichols 16:33.0
18. Zac Suriano 16:34.4
21. Max Cruz 16:40.5
26. Tom Pesch 16:46.7
Women's Overall Results (Out Of 6 Teams)
2. Notre Dame 33 Points
Women's Individual Results (Out Of 81 Runners)
2. Jessica Rydberg 18:04.9
5. Gabby Gonzales 18:32.4
6. Emily Frydrych 18:38.1
9. Susanna Sullivan 18:54.8
11. Allison Schroeder 19:05.4
12. Katherine Stultz 19:06.6
18. Michelle Mowry 19:25.2
26. Megan Heeder 19:50.7
38. Angela Ryck 20:11.0
41. Katie Moran 20:18.7
42. Ryan Russ 20:20.6