Nov. 9, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame men's and women's cross country teams will compete at the Great Lakes Regional meet this weekend, with both squads vying for a top-two spot to earn an automatic bid to the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championship. The University of Indiana will play host to the competition with the races being held at the Indiana Cross Country Course in Bloomington, Ind. The men's 10K race will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. (ET) with the women's 6K race to follow at 12:15 p.m.
The regional meet comes one week after the sudden death of former Notre Dame cross country and track standout Ryan Shay. Shay is the most decorated male athlete in Notre Dame history and left a legacy in the running world that extends beyond his success with the Irish. On Monday the Notre Dame men's team practiced on Shay's favorite route when he was at Notre Dame and the team will wear black patches with `RS' in white letters on its jerseys in memory of Shay during Saturday's race. The patches will also be worn by Notre Dame runners throughout the remainder of the 2007 cross country season, as well as throughout the entire 2007-08 track and field season.
The men's team comes into the meet ranked 22nd in the nation and third in the Great Lakes region. Wisconsin and Michigan come into the meet respectively ranked first and second in the Great Lakes region and fourth and 23rd in the nation. Also coming into the competition ranked nationally is Ohio State ranked No. 30.
The women's team will compete as the fourth-ranked team in the Great Lakes region. Currently unranked nationally, the Irish stand in a position to crack into one of the top-two spots or receive an at-large bid.
The men's team has received a bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the past three years, while the women's team will be running to return to the NCAA championships for the first time since 2005.
The top two teams at each regional championship meet automatically qualify for the 2007 NCAA Championship meet, which is on Nov. 19 at the LaVern Gibson Golf Course in Terre Haute Ind. Also from each regional meet, the first four student-athletes not on a qualifying team will be automatic qualifiers to the national meet. All individual automatic qualifiers must finish in the top 25 within their region. At-large teams will be selected by the NCAA on Sunday, Nov. 11.