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ND Cross-Country: Smyth earns third All-American honor

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Patrick Smyth earned his third cross-country All-American honor Monday with a 10th-place finish at the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

This was Smyth’s fourth trip to the national meet and his highest placing. He finished the 10-kilometer race in 29:48.

“He ran well,” men’s head coach Joe Piane said. “He’s a tough kid and that really showed today.”

Smyth led Notre Dame to a 19th place overall finish among 31 teams. The Irish, who came into the race ranked No. 27 and had earned the last bid out of regionals, finished significantly higher than expected.

Piane, however, played down the significance.

“Top 20 in the country, that’s not too bad,” he said. “It was a pretty good showing.”

Both Smyth and the Irish improved upon their 2007 NCAA championships performance, when Smyth finished 15th and the team finished 21st.

Sophomore Dan Jackson finished second among the Irish and 74th overall with a time of 30:52, and junior Jake Walker finished right behind him, crossing the line 76th in 30:53. Freshman Joe Miller came in 134th in 31:26, and senior Daniel Clark rounded out the scoring for the Irish, finishing 152nd with a time of 31:37.

The Irish women finished 29th of 31 teams in their first championship appearance since 2005.

Junior Lindsey Ferguson led the Irish and finished 99th overall with a time of 21:24 in the 6k race. Sophomore Marissa Treece followed and finished 122nd in 21:38. Senior Heidi Rocha finished 129th in 21:42, freshman Rachel Velarde finished 155th in 21:42, and senior Becca Bauman finished 184th in 22:15.

Piane said he will look for even more improvement in the future, as most members of his team are underclassmen.

“On a grade scale, I’d give the season a B,” he said. “And you’re always trying to get A’s, right?”