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ND Cross Country: Irish come up short at NCAA���Championships

Maija Gustin | Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In the 31-team field at Monday’s NCAA men’s cross country National Championship at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Irish finished 25th overall with 571 points and concluded their 2010 season.

In his 26 years as head coach, Joe Piane has led Notre Dame to 20 NCAA Championship events. The team qualified with at-large points that it had earned over the course of the season.

The Notre Dame women finished 23rd of 31 teams at the 2009 championships, but the men were absent. The men’s last visit to the NCAA Championships was in 2008, where they placed 19th overall. The Irish women did not qualify for the NCAAs this year.

Oklahoma State, Florida State, Wisconsin, Stanford and Oklahoma rounded out the top five teams in the men’s division this year.

The Irish went into the race with fresh legs after taking some time to rest them in practice over the previous week.

“Practice has been very easy. Just jogging around and keeping the legs fresh for the Big Dance,” senior Dan Jackson added.

Jackson ran his last race for the Irish 100th place overall finish (31:23), following close behind the first Notre Dame finisher, junior Jeremy Rae. Jackson raced for the Irish in 2008 as well, finishing 74th at 30:52.

Rae came in first for Notre Dame, running the 10-kilometer race in 31:07. He finished 78th overall. The top finisher overall was senior Samuel Chalenga of Liberty College in 29:22.

Junior Jordan Carlson finished 108th in 31:28 and freshman Martin Grady was 124th at 31:37.

The Irish team was rounded out by junior Joe Miller, who ran in 32:04 for 161st place and freshman Walter Schafer in 184th in 32:34. Miller finished in 134th at the 2008 championships in 31:26.

“The NCAA National Championship is the biggest stage a Notre Dame runner can compete on in the collegiate level,” Jackson said.

With his final collegiate cross country meet behind him, Jackson, one of the top Irish runners of the season, is proud of his accomplishments and looking forward to the future.

“I love running not only for myself, but for my teammates, my coaches and supporters, and also Notre Dame,” Jackson said. “What I will sorely miss after my collegiate career is over is representing something that is bigger than myself.”

He now looks to the spring season, when he will join the Irish track and field team.

With the 2010 cross country season now finished, most of the members of both the men’s and women’s teams will head into the Indoor Track and Field season Dec. 3 at the Blue and Gold Meet at Notre Dame.