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ND Cross Country: Irish run to top-30 finishes at NCAAs

By Isaac Lorton | Monday, November 25, 2013

Facing cold conditions, Notre Dame finished 22nd in the men’s division and 29th in the women’s division at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday. Irish senior Martin Grady finished in 35th overall with a time of 30:43.3 to earn All-American accolades.

“[It’s] kind of a weird mix of emotions,” Grady said. “It’s awesome, in my last cross race, it’s nice to go out on a good one like that. But, ultimately, it definitely is a team sport. The individual award takes the back seat to the team’s finish. But the team was definitely supportive of me. On one hand, I am a little happy, but I can’t be too happy.” 

After a stellar outing at the NCAA Regional Championships in Madison, Wisc. on Nov. 15, Notre Dame did not perform up to its expectations against the field of 31 teams, Irish coach Tim Connelly said. 

“We didn’t perform very well,” Connelly said. “We were definitely disappointed with the outcome.” 

Graduate students Jeremy Rae (31:11.1) and J.P. Malette (31:45.8) finished in 84th and 145th place, respectively. While sophomores Michael Clevenger (31:36.0) and Timothy Ball (32:18.2) placed 132nd and 201st, respectively, to round out the team’s top five finishers, Grady said the veteran runners did not meet expectations. 

“The overall consensus [of the race] wasn’t too happy,” Grady said. “We definitely have a good amount of talent, but didn’t put it together for this race. Going into the championships, we were aiming for top-15 finish, but we weren’t able to get there.”

On the women’s side, senior Kelly Curran (21:16.6) grabbed 94th place and senior co-captain Alexa Aragon (21:25.0) took 114th place. Sophomore Molly Seidel finished in 171st place with a time of 21:48.8. Juniors Emily Frydrych (22:26.5) and Gabby Gonzales (22:47.5) took 231st and 241st place, respectively. 

Connelly said he does not know exactly why the team underperformed.  

“We had people run poorly for a lot of different reasons [Saturday],” Connelly said. “There were a lot of different factors. The conditions were really bad on the course; they pushed the start up and the start was tight. We had [a] couple people fall in the start; we had one who had to come to a complete stop during the race because a group of people tripped up in front of her. The weather may have been a factor – it was in the 20’s. But that doesn’t mean anything, because every team had to deal with the same things we did.”

Grady said the team’s results in the NCAA Regional Championships capped off an underwhelming season.

“It was probably just an alright year,” Grady said. “We had some pretty high expectations from last year because we returned eight people from last year. The year wasn’t the greatest for how much talent we do have.”   

On the other hand, Connelly said the team had several positives to take away from the season.

“We didn’t perform poorly on the year,” Connelly said. “Getting to nationals isn’t a poor year, but we never performed as well as we thought we should have.” 

With the meet, the Irish concluded their season. Many team members will compete in the winter track season, which begins with the Blue & Gold Meet at the Loftus Sports Center on Dec. 6.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu