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ND Cross Country: Irish to test lineup at Valpo

Isaac Lorton | Thursday, September 5, 2013

 

The Irish will look to finalize their top running groups this weekend as the men’s and women’s squads travel to Valparaiso, Ind., for the Crusader Classic. 

But many of Notre Dame’s best athletes won’t make the trip to Valpo.

“We won’t be running our top guys this weekend,” Irish men’s coach Joe Piane said. “We want to see what some of these other guys can do. … We want to do this for the sake of experience. A lot of these kids haven’t run much cross country. It will be interesting because we aren’t running with the top squad, but I am completely confident that we will do very well. ” 

Irish women’s coach Tim Connelly said he plans to approach the meet the same way.

“This weekend, you won’t see all of our top athletes,” Connelly said. “A lot of our runners will not have very much collegiate experience. It will be freshmen and also sophomores who were on the cusp of our top group last year.” 

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are using this initial meet to evaluate untested freshmen and sophomores looking to push into the top running groups. Piane said there are definitely a few runners he will be sure to watch. For some, it could be their opportunity to move up.  

“Absolutely, I am excited,” Piane said. “I want to see senior Pat Lesiewicz, sophomore Kevin Durham, and freshmen Scott Milling and Nick Laureano run. I think Milling will become a great 10,000-meter runner for us.”   

Connelly said he has the same hopes for the women runners and noted the enormous progress many have already made.   

“I feel confident that we have some very good kids who will be running this weekend,” he said. “I will be very surprised if they are not some of our top athletes come championship season. They are at a whole different level from a year ago. I’m excited to see them run.”

And the runners are just as excited as their coach.

“They have been working so hard all summer and they are really looking forward to running against someone who isn’t their teammate,” Connelly said. 

Notre Dame begins racing Friday at 6 p.m. at Valparaiso University. 

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu