Nov. 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams travel to Madison, Wis., to compete in Friday's 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Region Championship meet, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course. The women's six-kilometer race will begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) followed by the men's 10-kilometer race at 2:15 p.m. (ET).
"We need to run our best race of the season," said women's head coach Tim Connelly. "We need five people to run really well. We have had two or three runners run really well every meet, but we haven't had a race where all five run well. We need to put ourselves in a position early to race with the best teams. If we do that we have a great shot to get in the top two and earn the automatic berth to the NCAAs."
"The goal for everyone that goes to regionals is to get in the top two so they can receive the automatic berth in the NCAA Championship field," said men's head coach Joe Piane. "What we have to do to make that happen is to be aggressive early and get near the front and just race with some of the top teams in the field. We did a great job of that at BIG EAST and we will need to run a similar race in order to have a shot. We have built up some good at-large points this year, so as long as we run a good race Friday we should be able to lock up a spot at NCAAs."
The top two teams from each race will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships scheduled for Nov. 17th in Louisville, Ky. Thirteen at-large bids will be awarded throughout the nine regions should the Irish not finish in the top two.
THE MEN'S FIELD (29): Akron, Bowling Green, Butler, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Dayton, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, Indiana, Indiana State, IPFW, Kent State, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oakland, Ohio State, Ohio University, Purdue, Toledo, Valparaiso, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Wright State, Xavier
THE WOMEN'S FIELD (31):
Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Butler, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Dayton, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, Indiana, Indiana State, IPEW, IUPUI, Kent State, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oakland, Ohio State, Ohio University, Purdue, Toledo, Valparaiso, Western Michigan, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Xavier
Nine MAC schools and six Big Ten schools will carry the weight for the largest conference representation. Since 2004 the winner for both the men's and women's race has come out of the Big Ten 15 times in 16 opportunities.
UPDATES: Follow @NDXCTF or sign up for Irish text alerts to get the most immediate results. Check in at UND.com for a full recap and race results following the conclusion of both races.
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL RANKINGS (MEN): 1. Wisconsin, 2. Michigan, 3. Indiana, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Eastern Michigan, 6. Michigan State, 7. Butler, 8. Indiana State, 9. Ohio State, 10. Central Michigan, 11. Purdue, 12. Miami (Ohio), 13. Akron, 14. Cincinnati, 15. Marquette
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL RANKINGS (WOMEN): 1. Michigan, 2. Michigan State, 3. Toledo, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Wisconsin, 6. Butler, 7. Ohio State, 8. Miami (Ohio), 9. Indiana, 10. Ohio, 11. Marquette, 12. Purdue, 13. Central Michigan, 14. Xavier, 15. Eastern Michigan
TEAMS FROM THE FIELD NATIONALLY RANKED (MEN): No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Indiana, No. 28 Notre Dame
TEAMS FROM THE FIELD NATIONALLY RANKED (WOMEN): No. 6 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 18 Toledo, No. 23 Notre Dame
THOMAS ZIMMER CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE: Notre Dame will make its second appearance at the site this year as the Irish participated in the adidas Wisconsin Invitational on Sept. 28.
Opened in the fall of 2009, the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course is home to the University of Wisconsin's cross country teams. It is most commonly known for its extremely wide starting line, giving competitors an optimal approach to the first leg of the race. Located next to University Ridge Golf Course, the layout of the course features a continuously winding terrain of hills bordered by tall grass and dense woodlands testing the most elite runner. An elevated plain around the course route allows prime viewing for spectators.
LAST TIME OUT: Notre Dame competed in the BIG EAST Championship two weeks prior on Oct. 26th at Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, N.Y.
(MEN): Notre Dame placed third out of 14 squads. The Irish finished with 70 points, trailing second-place Georgetown by just three points and distanced themselves from fourth-place Providence by a margin of 39 points. Senior Jeremy Rae was the top performer for the Irish as he finished third with an eight-kilometer time of 24:39. Junior Martin Grady (eighth - 24:46) and senior J.P. Malette (14th - 24:59) joined Rae for all-BIG EAST honors with their top-15 finish in a field of 114 participants.
(WOMEN): The Irish finished fifth (90 points) and nearly caught fourth-place Villanova as the Wildcats slipped away by just seven points. Notre Dame surpassed sixth-place Syracuse by 27 points. Junior Kelly Curran was the top-finisher for the Irish placing 12th out of 126 participants with a six-kilometer time of 21:21. Senior Rebecca Tracy was the last contender to pick up her all-BIG EAST accolades finishing 15th with a time of 21:25.
GREAT LAKES REGIONAL (GLR): This year will mark the 41st year of the Men's District IV Great Lakes Regional race and the 27th year for the women's race.
(MEN): Since 2004, Wisconsin have dominated the field winning the men's section in all eight attempts, sharing the title with Michigan in 2007. The Irish have placed fourth or better throughout the eight-year period finishing as the runner-up on three occasions. Notre Dame has won the event on four occasions (1990, 1993, 1996, and 2001) as a team since the race first took place in 1972. Patrick Smyth is the most recent Irish to win the event as he did so in 2008 running the 10-kilometers with a time of 31:06, easily finishing three seconds ahead of Andy Baker from Butler. Rae is the top returnee from the 2010 squad as the senior finished 16th with a time of 30:42.
The men's team has qualified for the NCAA Championship 21 times and claimed their NCAA Championship berth seven of the last eight years at the District IV Great Lakes Regional race.
2011 GLR: Last year Notre Dame was led by graduate Jordan Carlson (15th - 30:37), Rae (17th - 30:41) and Grady (20th - 30:44) as the trio finished in the top-25 to earn all-region honors. The Irish placed fourth out of 31 squads with 119 points. Notre Dame held off fifth-place Ohio State (126) and chased close behind third-place Michigan (104). Wisconsin pulled away from the field with 50 points to hold off second-place Indiana by 20 points. Junior Callum Hawkins will return for Butler to defend his title as he ran a time of 30:01 in the ten-kilometer event. The top 29 runners ran under a five-minute mile pace.
(WOMEN): Michigan leads the trend with four wins since 2004 on the women's side. The Irish have won the event three times (2002, 2003 and 2009). The '09 freshman class will get one last attempt to repeat their championship performance. Notre Dame scored 94 points in '09 holding off second-place Ohio State, who scored 102 points. Graduate Lindsey Ferguson lead the Irish with a third-place finish running a 20:58 and senior Jessica Rydberg placed 11th with a 21:23. Alexa Aragon was Notre Dame's top runner in 2010 finishing 24th with a 21:25.
The women's team will be seeking their 11th bid to the NCAA Championship. The Irish have advanced to the NCAA Championship seven times in the last 11 years.
2011 GLR: Jessica Rydberg (10th - 20:46) and Gabby Gonzales (13th - 20:54) cracked the top-25 for the Irish last year to earn all-region accolades. The women finished fifth out of 33 teams with 112 points sitting in between fourth-place Wisconsin (91 points) and sixth-place Ohio State (163). Michigan took the crown in the six-kilometer event with 45 points, holding off second-place Michigan State by 32. The Wolverines represented three of the top-five runners. Graduate Danielle Tauro from Michigan won the event with a 20:27, beating senior teammate Rebecca Addison by seven seconds. Jillian Smith (5th - 20:39) will return this year with Addison as the Wolverines look to defend their title.
IRISH MAKING THE TRIP: (Women) Alexa Aragon, Dani Aragon, Kelly Curran, Hannah Eckstein, Meg Ryan, Jessica Rydberg, Molly Seidel, Rebecca Tracy
(Men) Martin Grady, Jake Kildoo, Patrick Lesiewicz, Jeff MacMillan, JP Mallette, Jeremy Rae, Walter Schafer, DJ Thornton
HERE COME THE IRISH: Based on the outcome of the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship, the Irish could head to Louisville, Ky., for the 2012 NCAA Championships on Sat., November 17.