Nov. 13, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams are heading to Terre Haute, Ind., for the 2011 NCAA National Championships after earning at-large spots in the 31-team fields, the NCAA announced on Sunday night.
“We are excited to qualify for the NCAA Championships and are looking forward to having our best race of the season next Monday in Terre Haute,” said women’s head coach Tim Connelly.
“The team has worked really hard all season to reach this point,” said men’s head coach Joe Piane. “We are thrilled to be one of the 31 teams out of 310 in the country to make it to the NCAAs. It is a lofty goal to make it to nationals because there are so many teams and so few spots.”
The men’s team, which is making its 47th appearance in the NCAA Championships, boosted its resume on Saturday with a fourth place finish at the Great Lakes Regional. The women’s team is making its 10th appearance and helped its cause with a fifth place showing at the Great Lakes Regional.
The Irish men have now been to the NCAAs as a team in 18 of the last 22 years, while the women’s squad will make the trip to the NCAAs for the eighth time in the last 11 years.
Performing well individually on Saturday to help the Irish punch their ticket to nationals were five all-region performers. Senior Jordan Carlson (15th), junior Jeremy Rae (17th) and sophomore Martin Grady (20th) garnered all-region accolades for the Irish men, while junior Jessica Rydberg (10th) and freshman Gabby Gonzales (13th) were named all-region for the Notre Dame women.
Over the years the men’s team has finished in the top-10 33 times, with one national championship in 1957. The Irish last finished in the top five in 2005, when they placed third. Last year the men took 25th.
The last men’s All-American to wear the blue and gold was standout Patrick Smyth, who earned the citation three times from 2006-08.
Notre Dame’s women’s team has enjoyed its own success over the years, finishing in the top-10 from 2002-05, with a third place finish in 2002 and a fourth place showing in 2004 highlighting the run. The Irish placed 23rd in the meet during their last appearance in 2009.
That same year, Notre Dame’s Lindsey Ferguson became the last Irish female to earn All-America honors.
Stay tuned to UND.com throughout the week leading up to the NCAA National Championships for complete coverage of the Notre Dame cross country teams.