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    Irish Cross Country Kicks Off 2013 Season At Valparaiso

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

    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 UND.com, Facebook (Facebook.com/NDXCTF) and Twitter (@NDXCTF).

    CRUSADER OPEN

    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

    --ND--

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