Oct. 29, 2003
The University of Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams head to Van Cortlandt Park for a Halloween challenge at the 2003 BIG EAST Cross Country Championship on Friday, Oct. 31. The Irish women, ranked seventh in the country, enter the competition as the favorite, while the men (ranked 24th) are also in the running for the league championship.
Challenging field awaits:
The road to the 2003 BIG EAST Championship will not be easy for either team on Friday. The BIG EAST Conference is traditionally one of the toughest and deepest in the nation in cross country and the 2003 season is no exception to that rule.
On the women's side, Notre Dame enters as the favorite to repeat its title from a year ago. Last season, Lauren King finished first, just ahead of teammate Molly Huddle in second place as the Irish claimed their first-ever BIG EAST women's cross country championship. Notre Dame enters Friday's race ranked seventh in the nation and will run against #8 Providence, #16 Georgetown, #25 West Virginia, #27 Boston College and #32 Villanova.
The men's race will be equally challenging, with #11 Villanova, #13 Georgetown, #20 Providence and #24 Notre Dame in the field. Villanova claimed the title last season and welcomes back its two top performers in 2003.
BIG EAST women's cross country championship race: 12:30 p.m. (6K)
BIG EAST men's cross country championship race: 1:10 p.m. (8K)
Results will be available on www.bigeast.org, as well as a complete recap on www.und.com.
Notre Dame 2003 schedule and results:
Valparaiso Invitational, 9/5, Men - 1st, Women - 1st
National Catholic, 9/19, Men - 1st, Women - 1st
Notre Dame Invitational, 10/3, Men - 1st, Women - 1st
Pre-National Meet, 10/18, Men - 9th (gold), Women - 3rd (purple)
Oct. 31 - BIG EAST Championship (Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx)
Nov. 15 - NCAA Great Lakes Regional (Terre Haute, Ind.)
Nov. 24 - NCAA Championship (Cedar Falls, Iowa)
Notre Dame BIG EAST Cross Country Championship history:
1995: third, 83 points
1996: fourth, 81 points
1997: first, 50 points
1998: third, 91 points
1999: first, 43 points
2000: fourth, 100 points
2001: first, 49 points
2002: fourth, 132 points
1995: seventh, 175 points
1996: fifth, 123 points
1997: fourth, 126 points
1998: fifth, 144 points
1999: fifth, 98 points
2000: sixth, 160 points
2001: fourth, 107 points
2002: first, 69 points
All-BIG EAST performers competing for Notre Dame on Friday -
Tim Moore, 2002 - 10th
Todd Mobley, 2001 - 8th
Lauren King, 2002 - 1st
Molly Huddle, 2002 - 2nd
Megan Johnson, 2001 - 14th
Two Notre Dame harries have claimed the BIG EAST individual title, Ryan Shay in 1999 and Lauren King in 2002.
Notre Dame's lineups for the championship:
A.J. Andrassy, Jr., Cleveland, Ohio
David Alber, Sr., Dayton, Ohio
Kurt Benninger, Fr., Chepstow, Ontario
Ryan Johnson, Jr., Auburn, Ind.
Todd Mobley, Sr., West Bloomfield, Mich.
Tim Moore, So., Novi, Mich.
Eric Morrison, Jr., Ancaster, Ontario
Sean O'Donnell, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.
Kaleb Van Ort, So., Waterloo, Ind.
Molly Huddle, So., Elmira, N.Y.
Megan Johnson, Sr., Seattle, Wa.
Lauren King, Jr., Toronto, Ontario
Stephanie Madia, So., Wexford, Pa.
Kerry Meagher, Jr., Allentown, Pa.
Jean Marinangeli, So., Arlington Heights, Ill.
Katie Wales, Sr., Carmel, Ind.
Jenny Walls, So., Tulsa, Okla.
Elizabeth Webster, So., Dearborn, Mich.
Last season at the BIG EAST Championship:
The Irish women claimed their first-ever BIG EAST cross country title last season, led by a one-two finish by Lauren King and Molly Huddle, respectively. The men finished fourth, as lead runner Todd Mobley was sidelined with an injury.
Here is a look at last season's finish and times for Notre Dame's runners competing in Friday's race -
Tim Moore, 10th, 24:08
Eric Morrison, 28th, 25:06
David Alber, 32nd, 25:11
Ryan Johnson, 33rd, 25:12
Kaleb Van Ort, 49th, 25:46
Lauren King, 1st, 20:23
Molly Huddle, 2nd, 20:28
Stephanie Madia, 31st, 21:56
Katie Wales, 49th, 22:38
Closer look at Notre Dame's line up for Friday's race:
A.J. Andrassy - Andrassy is in his second year of competition for Notre Dame this fall. So far in 2003, Andrassy has run well, finishing eighth at the Valparaiso Invitational, 35th at the National Catholic and 18th in the Notre Dame Invitational gold division race. This will be his first appearance at the BIG EAST Championship.
David Alber - Alber is one of the most experienced runners on the Irish roster. Friday's race will be his fourth BIG EAST Championship appearance. He finished 75th as a freshman, 20th as a sophomore and 32nd as a junior. In 2003, Alber has finished 29th at the National Catholic, 11th in the Notre Dame Invitational gold division race and 145th in the Pre-National meet.
Kurt Benninger - Benninger, the lone freshman competing for the Irish men this weekend, has run well in his two meets so far in 2003. He debuted at the Notre Dame Invitational, finishing second on the team and 12th overall. At the Pre-National meet, he ended up in 88th place.
Ryan Johnson - Johnson has made steady improvement in each season with the Irish. A junior, Johnson has established himself as one of the top five runners on the team in 2003. He finished sixth at the National Catholic, 46th at the Notre Dame Invitational and ran very well in the Pre-National open race, taking 15th place. Johnson finished 33rd in the 2002 BIG EAST Championship.
Todd Mobley - Mobley's drive toward All-America honors was derailed last season at the Pre-National Meet, where he suffered an injury half-way through the race. He missed the 2002 BIG EAST meet after earning all-BIG EAST honors in 2001 (finishing eighth overall). Mobley is still looking to hit his stride this season, after finishing 15th at the Notre Dame Invitational and 63rd in the Pre-National meet.
Tim Moore - Moore took over the leadership of the men's team when Mobley went down with an injury last season and has not looked back. The Novi, Mich., native earned all-BIG EAST honors as a freshman last season with a 10th-place effort and should be among the race leaders on Friday. So far in 2003, Moore has finished third at the Notre Dame Invitational and 15th in the Pre-National meet. Moore is Notre Dame's strongest candidate for All-America honors in 2003.
Eric Morrison - A middle distance specialist for the Notre Dame track and field team, Morrison ran a 4:01.00 mile last season and has shown effectiveness on the cross country course as well. He finished a solid 28th at last season's BIG EAST meet and won the National Catholic JV race a year ago. Morrison finished 12th in the Pre-National open race meet two weeks ago.
Sean O'Donnell - O'Donnell is similar to classmate Ryan Johnson, displaying consistent improvement each year on the team. He has been among Notre Dame's steadiest harriers so far in 2003, finishing third at the National Catholic, 20th at the Notre Dame Invitational and 58th at the Pre-National meet. Friday will mark his first BIG EAST Championship appearance.
Kaleb Van Ort - Van Ort has shown surprising strength in his second season with the Irish men's team. He finished second at the National Catholic, leading Notre Dame to the team title. He followed up with a 26th-place effort at the Notre Dame Invitational and took 52nd at the Pre-National meet. Van Ort appeared in the 2002 BIG EAST Championship, finishing 49th.
Molly Huddle - One of the top runners in the nation, Huddle finished second in her rookie BIG EAST appearance last season - combining with teammate Lauren King to lead the field from start to finish. Huddle will be among the race leaders on Friday. She won the National Catholic this season and finished 10th at the Pre-National meet. Huddle finished sixth overall at the 2002 NCAA Championship.
Megan Johnson - Johnson was forced to be a spectator to Notre Dame's first BIG EAST women's title last season, but returns from an injury in solid form for 2003. She finished 21st at the Notre Dame Invitational this season and 29th in the Pre-National meet. Johnson also has a solid history at the BIG EAST Championship, finishing 14th in 2001 and 39th in 2000.
Lauren King - King combines with Huddle to give Notre Dame two of the top runners in the nation. She became the first Notre Dame women's cross country runner to claim the conference individual title last season, leading the Irish to their first team title as well. She will be among the race leaders on Friday and has finished second at the Notre Dame Invitational and 19th at the Pre-National meet so far in 2003.
Stephanie Madia - Madia is a key member of Notre Dame's talented sophomore class and ran well in last season's BIG EAST meet, finishing 31st overall. In 2003, Madia has competed just once, finishing 57th at the Pre-National meet.
Kerry Meagher - Meagher has been a very pleasant surprise for the Irish women's team so far in 2003. A limited cross country participant during her first two seasons on the roster, Meagher has made a name for herself this season. She won the National Catholic individual title and finished second on the team and 12th overall at the Pre-National meet. Meagher will be appearing in her first BIG EAST meet on Friday.
Jean Marinangeli - Another super sophomore, Marinangeli claimed the Valparaiso Invitational individual title this season and finished fourth at the National Catholic, 42nd at the Notre Dame Invitational and 87th in the Pre-National meet. She was a key member of Notre Dame's victorious team at the BIG EAST meet last year, finishing 56th.
Katie Wales - The lone senior competing for the Irish women this weekend, Wales appeared in her first BIG EAST Championship last season and finished 49th overall. She also ran with the third-place NCAA Championship team in 2002. So far in 2003, Wales has finished seventh at the National Catholic, 49th at the Notre Dame Invitational and 115th at the Pre-National meet.
Jenny Walls - Yet another talented sophomore, Walls has shown steady improvement in her second season on the Irish roster. She has competed in each of Notre Dame's meets so far this season, finishing 14th at the Valparaiso Invitational, 15th at the National Catholic, 45th in the Notre Dame Invitational gold division race and 59th in the Pre-National open race.
Elizabeth Webster - The fifth sophomore running for Notre Dame this weekend, Webster appeared in just three cross country meets during her freshman season. In 2003, she has finished fourth at the Valparaiso Invitational, third at the National Catholic, 55th at the Notre Dame Invitational and 41st in the Pre-National open race. This will be her first BIG EAST Championship appearance.