Sept. 20, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
Notre Dame junior cross country runner Jessica Rydberg has been named BIG EAST Cross Country Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 13-19, the league office announced on Tuesday.
Rydberg, who shares the weekly award with DePaul men's runner Matthew Graham, won the women's 5K at the National Catholic Championships last Friday. Her time (17:16) was the fastest since Notre Dame's JoAnna Deeter ran 16:52 in 1999. It was also the third-fastest time in the meet's history. She was the ninth straight Notre Dame women's runner to win the meet.
The Pinetop, Ariz., product beat out 271 other women in the race, and helped lead the Irish to the team title over 32 other teams. She has starred for Notre Dame so far this season after missing the entire 2010 season with injury. Rydberg claimed second in the season-opening Valparaiso Crusader Invitational before winning the individual title on Friday.
"Jessica raced really well on Friday and she deserves this honor," said women's head coach Tim Connelly. "After missing all last season with injury, she is definitely heading in the right direction."
The junior becomes the first Notre Dame women's cross country runner to earn the weekly award since sophomore Meg Ryan won the award a season ago.
Rydberg and the Irish are preparing to host the Notre Dame Invitational in two weeks on Sept. 30. Notre Dame has played host to the meet since 1956 on the men's side and 1987 on the women's side. Last year the men finished seventh, while the women placed 18th.