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ND Cross Country: Irish finish in top five in ACC

A.J. Godeaux | Sunday, November 3, 2013

 

In Notre Dame’s inaugural ACC Championships, held at Beeson Park in Kernersville, N.C., the Irish impressed with third- and fourth-place finishes for the men and women, respectively.

For the Irish men, senior Martin Grady and graduate student Jeremy Rae both earned all-ACC honors with their fifth- and 11th-place finishes in the men’s 8-kilometer race. Grady stayed with the lead group from the beginning of the race, faltering just a bit down the homestretch but still crossing the finish line with a time of 24:13.2, 36 seconds behind the first place finisher. Rae came in a few seconds after Grady with a time of 24:21.8.

Senior J.P. Mallette (24:46.9) finished 26th, while sophomore Michael Clevenger (24:47.6) finished in 27th.  Sophomore Tim Ball, competing in his first varsity race of the year, rounded out the Irish top five with a time of 24:56.3, good for 36th place in the 129-runner field.

With all seven runners in the top 25, No. 14 Syracuse ran away with the men’s crown with a final tally of 64 points. No. 18 North Carolina placed second with 84 points on the strength of four top-20 finishers. The 23rd-ranked Irish finished with 105 points in their third-place effort. NC State senior Andrew Colley took the individual men’s title with a time of 23:37.9.

For the Irish women, coach Tim Connolly said he had mixed feelings regarding his runners’ individual performances.

“We had some really good performances, but we also had a few girls that struggled,” Connolly said. “It wasn’t because of poor effort or anything like that. The girls were competing hard. A few just didn’t run the race I know they’re capable of.”

However, Connolly did not suggest his team had failed to meet expectations in their first ACC Championships.

“I expected Florida State and Virginia to be very competitive, and they were just that, finishing one-two,” Connolly said. “Coming from the Big East, this was obviously a new experience, but I thought we could be really competitive as well. Like I already said, we had a couple sub-par races, but the result was about what I expected.”

The fifth-ranked Seminoles, who finished 13 points clear of No. 10 Virginia with 52 points, were sparked by a pair of top-five finishes from juniors Colleen Quigley and Hannah Walker, while the Cavaliers had four top-15 finishers. The 22nd-ranked Irish tallied 124 points.

Irish senior Kelly Curran and junior Hannah Eckstein paced the Irish with 16th and 20th place finishes, respectively, both earning all-ACC honors. Curran finished the 6-kilometer race in 20:55.8 while Eckstein clocked in at 21:08.7. Those two, however, were not the only runners to receive praise from Connolly.

“I was impressed with [Eckstein’s] race, but I was even more impressed with [sophomore] Mollie Seidel. She’s been dealing with training injuries for the past month or so and wasn’t in the best racing shape, but to see her come out and run the race that she did was impressive. Hopefully in the next couple weeks we can get her into better racing shape as we look forward to these next meets.”

Seidel finished 26th with a time of 21:23.1.

Next the Irish will attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships as they head to Madison, Wis., on Nov. 15 for the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals.

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