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ND Women’s Track and Field: Freshman Treece runs in Scotland

Alex Barker | Wednesday, April 2, 2008

While the rest of her teammates were participating in the Arizona State Invitational, freshman long distance runner Marissa Treece had her eyes set on a much bigger stage.

Treece, along with Notre Dame graduate Molly Huddle (’05), travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to participate in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships last Sunday.

Treece finished 44th out of 65 competitors in the women’s junior race even after getting caught up in a massive fall due to slippery conditions.

“Marissa didn’t have quite the race that she had hoped for,” Irish women’s distance Coach Tim Connelly said. “But hopefully she had a positive experience that will be a great motivator for her in the future.”

Treece earned a spot on the U.S. Women’s junior team to compete in Scotland by finishing fourth at the U.S. Cross Championships on February 14 in San Diego, Calif.

Huddle, twice honored as the Most Outstanding Performer at the Big East outdoor championships during her Notre Dame career, fared well in the women’s senior race placing 23rd out of nearly 100 participants.

“Molly [Huddle] was the most accomplished woman runner that we have ever had here at Notre Dame,” Connelly said.

Huddle will now turn her attention to the Olympics this summer in Beijing, China.

“She will certainly be considered a contender for one of the top three spots at the Olympic trials this summer,” Connelly said. “Obviously she is very talented and works very hard, but the thing that makes her so good is that she has a great mind for racing. She doesn’t get scared or flustered; she just goes out and tries to beat people. Ultimately, I believe that she has the potential to be one of the top women runners in the U.S. over the next several years.”

Following in Huddle’s footsteps, Treece has already begun to make a name for herself on the national level with her recent success.

“Marissa [Treece] has great potential,” Connelly said about the freshman. “If she keeps working hard and competing, she will be one of the top collegiate runners in the coming years.”

Treece’s initial adjustment to the collegiate level did not go as smoothly as she might have liked.

“She had mono in the fall and struggled with typical adjustments to college running that most freshmen go through.” Connelly said.

However, Connelly is not worried about these problems in the future.

“She will be very, very good this spring and in the years to come,” he said. “In addition to being very talented, she has a great attitude and energy, with the potential to be a great leader for our team.”