Oct. 18, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- As the cold weather settles into South Bend this weekend, the Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel even further north to Madison, Wis., for the Wisconsin adidas Cross Country Invitational. The University of Wisconsin will host the meet Oct. 19 at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.
Two weeks out from their own Notre Dame Invitational, both Irish teams are nationally ranked. The women hold the No. 28 spot in the country while the men are at No. 30.
The course will be tread by some of the nation’s most elite runner as 20 of the 36 competing men’s teams and 17 of the women’s 37 teams are nationally ranked. Head men’s coach Joe Piane says this kind of competition is fantastic for preparing the Irish for what’s ahead.
“The great thing about this meet is that it teaches kids how to run in a meet that’s similar to the national championship,” Piane explains. “You can run a dual meet and the feel is totally different. Or you can run in the National Catholic Championships and the feel is totally different. Now, our meet kind of simulates that, but this meet is marvelous for it. This is also the site of our region, so this is great practice for that.”
Piane adds that getting to the NCAA Championships is determined by the teams you have beaten over the course of your season. This chance to defeat highly ranked teams puts Notre Dame in a good position.
The Irish have sharpened their focus since their sixth- and seventh-place finishes at the Notre Dame Invitational. Head women’s coach Tim Connelly says the key to doing well this weekend is a matter of confidence.
“We’ve trained well,” he says. “Hopefully we’ve become a little more confident. I think that was a problem at the Notre Dame Invitational, we just didn’t get out very well and weren’t quite confident enough to get up in the race. That’s something, in a big field, we have to be able to do. I’d love to see them just go in and put themselves in the race. And see if they can’t be in the top eight or the top 10.”
Piane agrees that competing well is a matter of knowing how good they are for the Irish runners. While graduate student Jeremy Rae and senior Kelly Curran placed fifth and ninth respectively at the Notre Dame Invite, both coaches know that their younger student-athletes have the talent to get ahead on the course as well.
“I think both genders have realized that they are much better than how they performed and they can see light at the end of the tunnel. And that light isn’t an oncoming train—they can see that they’ll run well. I think they’ll run significantly better in this upcoming weekend,” Piane says.
The men’s 8K race gets underway at 11 a.m. and the women’s 6K event starts at noon. Sixteen women and 10 men will make the trip for the Irish.
Fan can follow the results of the race here at UND.com or on Facebook.
Notre Dame Runners
Women: Alexa Aragon, Danielle Aragon, Elli Brady, Kelly Curran, Taylor Driscoll, Hannah Eckstein, Emily Frydrych, Gabby Gonzales, Megan Kilbride, Karen Lesiewicz, Catherine Lombardo, Sydni Meunier, Katie Moran, McKinzie Schulz, Molly Seidel and Gabrielle Thivierge.
Ranked Competing Teams
Women: Arizona (No. 3), Arkansas (No. 8), Boston College (No. 24), BYU (No. 26), Cornell (No. 15), Dartmouth (No. 13), Duke (No. 17), Iowa State (No. 28), Michigan State (No. 9), Minnesota (No. 22), New Mexico (No. 7), Notre Dame (No. 30), Providence (No. 1), San Francisco (No. 10), Texas (No. 29), Vanderbilt (No. 25) and Washington (No. 4).
Men: Arizona State (No. 30), Arkansas (No. 6), BYU (No. 5), Colombia (No. 8), Dartmouth (No. 27), Eastern Kentucky (No. 16), Florida (No. 26), Georgetown (No. 24), Indiana (No. 12), Minnesota (No. 22), New Mexico (No. 25), North Carolina (No. 13), Northern Arizona (No. 3), Notre Dame (No. 28), Portland (No. 7), Providence (No. 17), Syracuse (No. 11), Texas (No. 14), UCLA (No. 21) and Wisconsin (No. 20).
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant