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ND Cross Country: Talented freshmen join squad

Tim Sigler | Monday, September 6, 2010

The Notre Dame cross-country team has added some young, talented freshmen that hope to make a big splash in the upcoming season.

The freshmen classes for both the men’s and women’s teams boast outstanding accolades from their high school years.

The Irish women’s cross-country team has eight new freshmen on the roster this year, and all hope to make a contribution to the team this year. Three freshmen that aim to make an impact this year are Meg Ryan, Kelly Curran, and Alexa Aragon while a fourth, McKinzie Shulz, will also provide a spark to the team after she recovers from a foot injury.

“[Shulz] hasn’t been able to get in that mix just yet,” Irish coach Tim Connelly said. “But she should be back soon and hopefully will be ready to contribute by the time the championship races come around in October.”

One thing that Connelly said the freshmen know is that they must gain experience at the collegiate level and not become beleaguered. Thus far, they have faired well. He said all of the new runners are comfortable in their new roles on the team.

“This is a talented group, but they also seem very focused and haven’t been overwhelmed by anything so far,” Connelly said.

The freshmen are also in a tough spot because there are not a lot of open slots in races, but they have been competing extremely hard to jump into those spots.

“We are in an unusual situation, in that we bring back a large part of our team from last [year], yet we also have a number of newcomers who appear to be ready to step in and contribute,” Connelly said. “It’s creating a very competitive, yet positive situation where people are showing up every day and working hard.”

The freshman class hopes to make an impact on the team this year at some point. After settling down into their routines, Connelly said running would come natural as well.

“To me, the biggest challenge that newer athletes face isn’t necessarily the increased completion and training load that they see,” Connelly said. “It’s dealing with academics, a new environment, new roommates, etc.  If they can handle all that, then the running will come around and they will get more confident the more they race.”