The University of Notre Dame men's cross country team finished in ninth place at the 2000 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Ames, Iowa, Monday afternoon. It was the second consecutive top-10 finish for the Irish at the NCAAs, as the team took eighth place at the 1999 NCAA meet in Bloomington, Ind., last season.
The Irish were led, as they have been all year, by Great Lakes Region champion Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn.). Amid numbing wind chills and a light snow fall at the finish, Watson earned All-America status by finishing seventh in 30:29.4.
Not far behind Watson was fellow-All-American honoree junior Pat Conway (Springfield, Va.), who might have run his best race of the season, finishing in 36th place (31:04.0). The next man across the finish line for the Irish was junior Marc Striowski (Toronto, Ontario) in 42nd (31:10.5).
Freshman Todd Mobley (West Bloomfield, Mich.) kept the Irish in contention for the top 10 with a solid rookie NCAA race, crossing the finish line in 31:45.9.
Notre Dame would not have to wait long for its fifth and final scoring runner, senior Sean Zanderson (Poway, Calif.) came in at 32:18.0 to give the team a score of 276.
"Wonderful," Notre Dame head coach Joe Piane said after the race.
"I am very pleased. This was a team people picked to not even be in this meet and now they finish in the top 10. I am very proud of these guys."
Piane has now helped lead the Irish to five top-10 finishes in the last nine years and also was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the entire BIG EAST conference at the meet.
"Just look at the top 10," Piane said.
"There are four BIG EAST schools in there. That shows the strength of the conference that we compete in every year."
Top Ten Teams:
1. Arkansas, 83
2. Colorado, 94
3. Providence, 121
4. Stanford, 149
5. Wisconsin, 167
6. Villanova, 181
7. Georgetown, 269
7. Northern Arizona, 269
9. Notre Dame, 276
10. William and Mary, 363
Notre Dame Individual Finishes and Times:
( ) - indicates scoring finish
7. (6) Luke Watson, 30:29.4
36. (28) Pat Conway, 31:04.0
42. (32) Marc Striowski, 31:10.5
99. (77) Todd Mobley, 31:45.9
165. (133) Sean Zanderson, 32:18.0
214. (180) David Alber, 32:50.1
241. (203) John Keane, 33:32.7