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Cross Country: Irish finish “disappointed” after ND Invitational

A.J. Godeaux | Sunday, October 6, 2013

The No. 19 Irish women’s squad and No. 22 men’s team grabbed sixth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively, Friday in the 58th annual Notre Dame Invitational on the Notre Dame Golf Course.
Although each side finished in the top third of large fields, the Irish said they were not satisfied with the results.
“Generally, we’re pretty disappointed with how the meet went,” Irish junior Jake Kildoo said. “A couple runners had pretty decent performances, guys like [graduate student] Jeremy Rae, but all around I think we gave a really poor indication of our actual fitness and potential as a team.”
On the men’s side, Rae had the only top-30 finish for the Irish in the 8k blue race, finishing fifth in the 209-runner field with a time of 24:33.9. Senior Martin Grady finished 32nd (25:02.3), while graduate student J.P. Malette rounded out the top three for the Irish with a 59th-place finish (25:24.9). Kildoo finished 81st with a time of 25:38.0.
No. 30 Columbia ran away with the team title for the men with a score of 113, while no. 7 Tulsa and no. 9 Princeton finishing behind them with scores of 124 and 147, respectively. The Irish finished with 236 points in their seventh-place finish. Unranked Minnesota provided the surprise for the meet, finishing fourth and beating out five ranked teams, including No. 16 Colorado State and No. 21 New Mexico, as well as the Irish. Only two ranked teams finished behind the Irish, No. 24 Virginia and No. 26 Florida State.
“It’s fortunate that we were able to beat two good teams in Virginia and Florida State, but that doesn’t mean nearly as much considering we lost to teams we know we can keep up with,” Kildoo said. “We’re going to use this as motivation, keep training hard, and we will look to tack up a much better performance at Wisconsin in two weeks.”
For the women, senior Kelly Curran led the way for the Irish, notching a ninth-place finish with a time of 17:18.3 in the 5k blue race, while fellow senior Alexa Aragon also recorded a top-20 finish, placing 16th with a time of 17:29.5. Junior Emily Frydrych also turned in a strong performance, finishing 47th (17:56.0) in the 166-runner field.
While Aragon agreed with Kildoo that the meet was certainly a disappointment, she said the Irish will use it as a learning experience.
“We didn’t do as well as we hoped for,” Aragon said. “With the bigger field we have to learn to do a better job of getting out in the beginning of the race and running together. We’ll definitely be working on that for our next meet.”
No. 2 Florida State took the women’s title with a final tally of 77 points. No. 15 New Mexico finished just behind the Seminoles with 82 points, while No. 24 San Francisco took third with 96 points. The No. 19 Irish women tallied 205 points in their sixth-place effort.
“Despite the result, I was proud of everyone,” Aragon said. “It’s important to see things we did well this weekend. The humidity and heat made for some tough conditions. But there are a lot of things we need to improve on as well.”
The Irish race next at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, held on Oct. 19 in Madison, Wisc.

Contact A.J. Godeaux at agodeaux@nd.edu