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Cross Country: Slow start costs Irish victory

Joe Wirth | Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Against an imposing field of teams at the Wisconsin Invitational, the Irish men finished with a 26th place finish, while the women’s team placed 12th.

Although these were not ideal results for the Irish, men’s coach Joe Piane said this race was a good learning experience for both squads and he expects the runners to learn from some of their mistakes in the race.

“We obviously expected to do better in this race, but I think our runners learned a lot,” Piane said. “We needed to be more aggressive and competitive early. I believe the experience we got from this race will benefit us in future big races.”

The field in Wisconsin included 37 nationally ranked teams and the slow start proved costly for the Irish.

“When you start off slow in a race like this, you are in trouble,” Piane said. “If you are not aggressive early, you could be behind 300 other runners and good luck trying to get through that traffic.”  

Senior Rebecca Tracy had the best individual performance for the women’s team. She placed 56th and registered a time of 20:32 for the 6-kilometer race. The next best performance for the Irish women came from junior Kelly Curran, who finished in 65th place with a time of 20:37.

The Irish women also received solid contributions from some of the younger runners. Freshman Molly Seidel finished in 78th place with a time of 20:41 and sophomore Gabby Gonzales came in 127th place and had a time of 20:57.

Senior Jeremy Rae was a highlight for the men’s team. He finished in 14th place out of 316 total runners and registered a time of 23:40 for the 8-kilometer race.

Piane said he was impressed with Rae’s performance, especially the way he was able to get off to a good start.

“[Rae] ran very well and very aggressively early and that is the key to success in these big races,” Piane said. “This was a great run for him against great competition and he is gaining confidence every race.”

The Irish will be in action this Friday for the Big East Championships in the Bronx, N.Y.

Contact Joe Wirth at jwirth@nd.edu