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ND Cross Country: Runners take to home turf

Chris Doyen | Friday, September 28, 2007

In Notre Dame’s first two meets, both the men and women placed first in team competition.

After one weekend off, the Irish squads will look to continue their success at the Notre Dame Invitational today.

At the National Catholic Championship on Sept. 14, the newcomers stole the show. Freshman Marissa Treece captured the women’s title, while freshman Dan Jackson led the Irish with a second place overall finish. The Irish will need another strong all-around performance if they want to protect their home turf.

The Notre Dame Invitational will host eight women’s and six men’s teams currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Div. I poll, including the Irish men (No. 13) and women (No. 27). Other nationally-ranked men’s and women’s teams include Michigan (No. 26 men/No. 2 women), Providence (No. 11/No.9), Florida State (No. 24/No. 12), and North Carolina State (No. 10/No. 15).

Other ranked teams include Illinois (No. 7) Baylor (No. 22), and Boston College (No. 26) on the women’s side, and Brigham Young University (No. 20) on the men’s side.

Friday’s Invitational will be the first time this season that the Irish have faced a ranked opponent. The time off, however, should prepare the squads for the challenges they will face.

The Notre Dame Invitational was first held in 1956, and since then, the Irish men have won it 15 times, with their last title coming in 2003. The women’s squad began competing in 1987, and since then they have won six times, with their last victory coming in 2003.

The Invitational is split into a Blue Division and a Gold Division. The Irish and most of the top-tier competition will compete in the Blue Division. The Gold Division includes schools from Div. I, II, and III.

North Carolina State won the men’s Blue Division last year, and Michigan took first on the women’s side. Both teams will be back this year to defend their titles.

The men’s teams will race five miles, while the women will race five kilometers.