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ND Cross-Country: Smyth leads team to Tournament bid

Chris Doyen | Monday, November 19, 2007

Junior Patrick Smyth will take his Great Lakes Regional crown to Terre Haute, Ind., today, in the NCAA Championships at Indiana State.

Smyth is coming off the first NCAA Regional title for an Irish runner since 2000, when current volunteer assistant coach Luke Watson took first in the region. Hot on Smyth’s heels in the regional meet was senior Jake Watson, who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships along with Smyth by virtue of his fourth-place finish.

After finishing one spot away from a guaranteed berth in the Championships in the regional meet, the entire Irish team received one of 13 at-large bids distributed by the NCAA.

Joining Smyth and Watson will be seniors Brett Adams, Dan Curran and Mike Popejoy, freshman Dan Jackson and sophomore Jake Walker.

Adams, Smyth, Walker and Watson all have some NCAA experience under their belts after competing for the Irish in last year’s meet. The team finished 19th overall last year, while Smyth finished 36th overall en route to earning All-America honors for the first time in his career.

Michigan and Wisconsin are the teams from the Great Lakes Region who received automatic bids into the national meet, while two other regional foes, Indiana and Ohio State, also received at-large bids.

The Irish have run in Terre Haute already this season. At the Pre-National Meet on Oct. 13, they finished fifth overall in a field that consisted of several teams that the Irish will face today. In that race, Notre Dame finished behind UTEP, Colorado, North Carolina State and Michigan. The Irish will get another crack at all of those teams in today’s meet.

Individually at the Pre-National Meet, Smyth and Watson posted top-20 finishes, with Smyth placing fifth and Watson finishing 17th. While the site is the same, today’s race is 2,000 meters longer than the 8k event run at the Pre-National Meet and is set to begin at noon.