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ND Cross Country: Smyth qualifies for NCAA meet

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 12, 2007

Irish junior Patrick Smyth was the class of the field at the 2007 Great Lakes Regional meet at Indiana University on Saturday.

He finished his 10 kilometers in 30:22.44, beating his closest competitor, Matt Withrow of Wisconsin, by nearly 16 seconds and securing his spot as an individual in next Saturday’s NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Smyth also qualified for the NCAA championships last year on his way to earning All-America honors.

Smyth became only the second runner in Notre Dame history to win the regional meet, joining current volunteer assistant coach Luke Watson, who accomplished the feat in 2000.

Joining Smyth in Terre Haute will be senior Jake Watson, who finished fourth overall with a time of 30:46.98.

Unfortunately for the Irish, however, they finished third of 29 teams with 76 points, eight points behind Wisconsin and Michigan, who tied for first. Only the top two teams from each regional meet receive automatic berths to the NCAA championships, and the Irish will find out today if they will receive an at-large bid. The NCAA distributes 13 at-large bids, and the consistent performance of the Irish puts them in a good position to receive one of them.

All Irish scorers finished in the top 35 overall. Following Smyth and Watson were sophomore Jake Walker in 14th (31:14.09), senior Brett Adams in 22nd (31:29.40) and senior Mike Popejoy at No. 35 (31:49.67).

On the women’s side, Michigan State (60 points) and Michigan (63 points) finished first and second and earned automatic bids to the NCAA championships. The Irish finished 11th of 30 participating teams with 293 points.

Senior Ann Mazur led the way for the Irish, finishing her six kilometers No. 26 overall with a time of 21:52.68. Nicole Edwards of Michigan won the individual title, finishing in 20:30.76.

Rounding out the scoring for the Irish women were junior Becca Bauman in 43rd (22:11.75), sophomore Emily Wauford in 53rd (22:23.83), freshman Abby Higgins in 79th (22:59.62) and sophomore Beth Tacl in 94th (23:09.13).

The women’s season is likely over, but Smyth and Watson-and possibly the rest of the men – will be back in action on Nov. 19 at the same course they traversed on Oct. 13 in the Pre-National Meet. Then, Smyth and Watson finished fifth and 17th overall, respectively, in a highly competitive field that featured many of the runners that will compete in the NCAA championships.