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Teams prep for postseason with success in Terre Haute

Chris Doyen | Monday, October 15, 2007

The men’s and women’s teams both made powerful statements Saturday at the Pre-National meet hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute. In a meet that featured national contenders, the men finished fifth, while the women, coming off a disappointing performance at the Notre Dame Invitational, finished 15th.

Going into the race, the men were ranked seventh in the USTFCCA poll (which has no bearing on the selections of the NCAA Championship committee). The team finished ahead of top-ranked Oregon, No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 4 Iona, No. 5 Stanford and No. 6 Oklahoma State.

North Carolina State and Michigan, which had been ranked 10th and 18th, respectively, finished third and fourth. UTEP, which had been ranked 21st, won with 129 points. Notre Dame finished with 261 points.

Leading the way for the Irish was junior Patrick Smyth, who head coach Joe Piane had expected to do well. He finished the eight-kilometer race in 23:18 – placing him fifth overall on the individual leaderboard. He improved his time from the same meet at the same course in 2006 by 30 seconds.

Senior Jake Watson finished second for the Irish and 17th overall with a time of 23:43. Sophomore Jake Walker (47th), senior Brett Adams (93rd), freshman Dan Jackson (99th), senior Mike Popejoy (118th) and freshman Paul Springer (240th) also represented the Irish in the varsity race.

After winning their first two meets of the year, the Irish women finished 12th at the Notre Dame Invitational, which dropped them out of the USTFCCA rankings. They made a strong case for their inclusion in the next poll by finishing 15th in a field that featured nearly every team with championship aspirations.

Stanford took first place with 102 points, followed by Florida State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Georgetown. Notre Dame finished with 393 points.

Sophomore Lindsey Ferguson paced the Irish, finishing the six-kilometer race in 21:03. She placed 37th overall. Freshman Marissa Treece was hot on her heels, finishing in 21:07, 40th overall.

Senior Ann Mazur (81st), sophomore Emily Wauford (104th), freshman Abby Higgins (131st), sophomore Beth Tacl (166th) and senior Amy Kohlmeier (199th) also ran for the Irish.

The postseason begins for both teams in two weeks with the Big East Championships in Louisville, Ky.

No members of the team were available for commenting following the race.