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ND Cross Country: Irish off to NCAA Championships

Megan Finneran | Monday, November 22, 2010

In an event featuring more than 30 teams, the Irish took third in last week’s NCAA Midwest Regional. Now they head to the NCAA Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., where the competition promises to be even tougher.

“Nationals is always special because the best runners in the country are all here, and it’s exciting to be in such a competitive race,” sophomore Jeremy Rae said.

The men fell in third place behind Wisconsin and Indiana at the Regional competition. Individually, senior Dan Jackson, Rae and junior Jordan Carlson earned all-region honors for their top-25 finishes. Jackson’s fourth-place finish led the Irish, followed by Rae’s 16th  place and Carlson’s 22nd place finish.

The 10-kilometer tournament that begins on Monday will set seven Irish runners against 31 teams from across the country. Eighteen of those teams consist of the top teams from each of the nine regional meets last week. The remaining 13 teams, including the Irish, were specially selected.

“Team-wise, our goal is to be in the top 15,” Rae said. “But more importantly, we just want to pick up experience for next year, when we’ll have an even stronger team.”

The past week of practice has consisted of tapering, with low-key practices of lower mileage in preparation for the race.

Joining Jackson, Rae and Carlson in the line-up will be juniors Johnathan Shawel and Joe Miller and freshmen Martin Grady and Walter Schafer.

The race, hosted by Indiana State, is set to begin at 12:48 p.m.