Cross Country

Irish Cross Country Kicks Off 2013 Season At Valparaiso

Junior Hannah Eckstein leads the women's team into Friday's Crusader Open.

Sep 5, 2013

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In what has become tradition for the University of Notre Dame men's and women's cross country squads, the 2013 season will begin Friday just like it has for the last decade - at the Crusader Open in Valparaiso, Ind.

Friday will mark the 11th consecutive season (and 14th in 15 years) the Irish have kicked off the campaign at the event, which is being run for the 25th time in 2013. This year's version of the Crusader Open gets underway at 6 p.m. (ET) at Sunset Hills Park in Valparaiso, Ind., with the 5K women's race, while the 6K men's race follows at 6:45 p.m. (ET).

"It's a great opportunity for the younger runners to get a feel for how college cross country races are run," said men's head coach Joe Piane. "I want them to run conservatively and in a pack early and try to stay strong and close well. It's a great first meet."

Notre Dame has had great success in the meet in the past, with the Irish men winning the team crown six times in the last nine seasons and the women doing so four times in the past six trips. Overall, the men have won nine times and the women six.

On the individual side, only once since 1999 have the Notre Dame men failed to place a runner in the top three (2008, when Kevin Veselik led the team by finishing fifth), and likewise for the women (2005, Ann Mazur in sixth). Notre Dame has captured seven individual men's crowns and five individual women's titles since '99, including back-to-back first-place finishes by Jennifer Handley in 1999 and 2000. Paul Springer (2010) and Theresa Cattuna (2009) were the last Irish runners to outdistance the field at the Crusader Open.



Last year both squads placed second with Meg Ryan (3rd, 17:48.3) and Jeff MacMillan (3rd, 19:20.7) leading the charge for the Irish. 

Head coaches Joe Piane and Tim Connelly have traditionally used the meet as a learning experience for their younger runners and this year is no different as 10 of the 18 competitors are either freshmen or sophomores. The major exceptions are senior Patrick Lesiewicz, who ran at the NCAA Championships last season, and Hannah Eckstein, who competed at the BIG EAST and NCAA Great Lakes Region meets last year.

For more information on the Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams follow, Facebook ( and Twitter (@NDXCTF).


Notre Dame women's runners in 2012 Crusader Open (11)

Previous finishes at Crusader Open in parentheses

Kelsey Amarosa, So.
Elli Brady, Fr.
Hannah Eckstein, Jr.
Emily Frydrych, Jr. (2011 - 6th - 18:38.1)
Kaileen Healy, Jr.
Megan Kilbride, So.
Karen Lesiweicz, Jr.
Sydni Meunier, So.
Katie Moran, Jr. (2011 - 41st - 20:18.7, 2012 - 6th - 18:20.9)
McKinzie Schulz, Sr.
Gabrielle Thivierge, Fr.

Notre Dame women's runners in 2012 Crusader Open (7)
Previous finishes at Crusader Open in parentheses

Kevin Durham, So.
Dayton Flannery, So.
Johnny Fuller, Jr. (2012 - 8th - 19:46.4)
Nick Laureano, Fr.
Patrick Lesiewicz, Sr. (2011 - 3rd - 15:48.5, 2012 - 3rd - 19:25.8)
Scott Milling, Fr.
Jack Riely, So. (2012 - 14th - 20:12.3)

Women's team finishes in Crusader Open (since 1999)
1999: 2nd/7 teams

2000: 1st/?

2001: 2nd/8

2002: Did not appear in meet

2003: 1st/7

2004: 3rd/6

2005: 3rd/8

2006: 2nd/7

2007: 1st/8

2008: 1st/6

2009: 1st/5

2010: 1st/5

2011: 2nd/6
2012: 2nd/5

Men's team finishes in Crusader Open (since 1999)

1999: 1st/9 teams

2000: 1st/?

2001: 1st/7

2002: Did not appear in meet

2003: 2nd/7

2004: 1st/4

2005: 1st/8

2006: 1st/6

2007: 1st/6

2008: 2nd/5

2009: 1st/4

2010: 1st/4

2011: 2nd/4
2012: 2nd/3

Top women's finishers in Crusader Open (since 1999)

1999: 1st, Jennifer Handley (18:00.27)

2000: 1st, Jennifer Handley (17:58)

2001: 2nd, Christi Arnerich (23:03)

2002: Did not appear in meet

2003: 1st, Jean Marinangeli (22:16)

2004: 3rd, Elizabeth Webster
2005: 6th, Ann Mazur (23:30)

2006: 3rd, Julie Opet (14:45)

2007: 3rd, Beth Tacl (19:07)

2008: 1st, Marissa Treece (17:42)

2009: 1st, Theresa Cattuna (18:25)

2010: 2nd, Susanna Sullivan (18:17.50)

2011: 2nd, Jessica Rydberg (18:04.9)
2012: 2nd, Meg Ryan (17:48.3)

Top men's finishers in Crusader Open (since 1999)

1999: 1st, Marc Striowski (24:48)

2000: 1st, Luke Watson (25:08)

2001: 1st, Todd Mobley (25:17)

2002: Did not appear in meet

2003: 2nd, Brian Kerwin (25:13)

2004: 1st, Daniel Driscoll (25:30)

2005: 2nd, Chris Rodriguez (26:01)

2006: 3rd, Kevin McFadden (19:27)

2007: 1st, Chris Rodriguez (19:51)

2008: 5th, Kevin Veselik (19:48)

2009: 1st, Spencer Carter (19:16)

2010: 1st, Paul Springer (19:34.50)

2011: 3rd, Patrick Lesiewicz (15:48.5)
2012: 3rd, Jeff MacMillan (19:20.7)

Notre Dame women, preseason national rankings since 1995

1995: 21st

1996: -

1997: -

1998: -

1999: 22nd

2000: -

2001: -

2002: 10th

2003: 3rd

2004: 4th

2005: 3rd

2006: -

2007: 27th

2008: -

2009: 29th

2010: 17th

2011: -

2012: 22nd
2013: 18th

Notre Dame men, preseason national rankings since 1998

1998: 11th

1999: -

2000: 20th

2001: 5th

2002: 25th

2003: 18th

2004: 29th

2005: 7th

2006: 12th

2007: 13th

2008: 20th

2009: 27th

2010: -

2011: 23rd

2012: 25th
2013: 22nd

-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director


Event Calendar


October 14
Women 9th
Wisconsin Adidas Invitational W
Madison, WI (Zimmer Championship Course)
October 14
Men 4th
Bradley Classic M
Peoria, IL (Newman Golf Course)
October 28
ACC Championships
Cary, NC (Wakemed Soccer Park)
November 11
NCAA Great Lakes Regional
Madison, WI (Zimmer Championship Course)
November 19
11:00 AM
NCAA Championships
Terre Haute, Ind. (Lavern Gibson CC Course)

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