Sept. 13, 2012
National Catholic Program
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams lace up the spikes this weekend for the 33rd annual National Catholic Championships on Friday Sept. 14 at the beatific nine-hole Notre Dame Golf Course. A JV race open to men and women will get the meet started at 3:30 p.m. (ET).
The women's 5K championship will kickoff at approximately 4:15 p.m. (ET), with the men's five-mile championship to follow at 5 p.m. (ET).
Thirty-four teams will represent the field, 13 of those being Division-1 institutions.
The men's team enters Friday's meet ranked 25th nationally and fourth in the Great Lakes Region Coaches' Poll.
The women's team is ranked 22nd nationally and fourth in the Great Lakes Region Coaches' Poll.
The event has been apart of the Notre Dame men's cross country schedule since current men's head coach Joe Piane founded the meet in the fall of 1980. Over that time Notre Dame has dominated its home meet by securing a team victory on 22 occasions and producing a top-finisher 12 times.
Between the '94-'04 season era, Notre Dame held a ten-year winning streak with Ryan Shay crossing the finish line first four times ('97-'99, '01). In 2005 the Irish surrendered their streak to Duquesne, but nevertheless still held a top-finisher as Patrick Smyth recorded a 24:36 finishing time. Notre Dame has taken the team championship title in five of the last six years.
1987 saw the berth of the women's 5K-championship race. Since its inaugural year, the women's cross country team has won 10 consecutive championships and 18 of the last 20 team championship opportunities, starting after capturing their first win in 1992.
2011 marked the third straight year the men's team has come away with a championship. Last year the Irish were led by junior Martin Grady's second place finish (24:35). Returning are junior Walter Schafer (4th, 24:44), junior DJ Thornton (7th, 24:52) and junior Patrick Lesiewicz (9th, 24:59) who rounded out the top ten.
The women's team captured a first-place finish in the 5K. Senior Jessica Rydberg led the way with a first-place finish in 17:16. The Irish also return junior Alexa Aragon (3rd, 17:24) and junior Kelly Curran (7th, 17:34).
Following the National Catholic Championship, the Irish will have round two on the Notre Dame Golf Course as they host the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday Sept. 28. Check out UND.com for a full recap on all of Friday's action. Fans can follow Notre Dame cross country and track and field on Twitter (@NDXCTF) or on Facebook (facebook.com/NDXCTF)
Notre Dame Men's Runners
Notre Dame Women's Runners