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Madia leads Irish in weekend races

Bobby Griffin | Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It hasn’t taken very long for Stephanie Madia to prove exactly how important she is to the Notre Dame cross-country team.

In last weekend’s National Catholic Invitational, Madia finished in first place with a time of 17:38.

“I was real pleased with her race last weekend, it’s kind of what I expected,” said Tim Connelly.

Madia led an impressive group of Irish runners – a total of four placing in the top 10. However she knows that what happened on Friday is only the starting point.

“It was a low-key meet for our whole team, so it’s a good confidence builder for the team to do really well,” said Madia.

Madia said Friday’s Notre Dame Invitational is a much bigger race for the team.

“It’s always great to get a good race under your belt and be able to race well one time before you have another race be-cause it builds your confidence and gets you ready for the next week,” said Madia.

Connelly spoke about the progress Madia has made in one short year, and how much he expects from the junior for this upcoming season.

“There is a huge difference between where she is at right now and where she was a year ago at this point,” said Connelly. “Obviously she is going to be one of our top runners and one of our leaders. She was an NCAA qualifier last year on the track so she has gone to a whole different level than where she was at last fall.”

The emergence of freshman Sonni Olding could be crucial for Madia this year. Madia said the two could prove to be a strong duo.

“It was great to get to race with her and find out what its like to be in a meet together. I think it was good practice for both of us,” said Madia.

The Irish will host the Notre Dame Invitational Oct. 1. Following this weekend’s race, the Irish will run in the Pre-National Championships and the Big East Championships later this month.