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ND Cross Country

Season Recap: ND places in top 30 at NCAAs

| Friday, May 16, 2014

Four top-five finishes for both the men and women and an All-American individual performance for the first time since 2008 highlighted Notre Dame’s season, which culminated in both teams qualifying for the NCAA championship in Terre Haute, Ind.

The Irish started their season at the Crusader Open, as they have every year since 2003. Running without most of their regular varsity squads, both the men’s and women’s teams finished in the top two, with the women winning the meet for the first time since 2010.

Irish senior Martin Grady races down the fairway of Notre Dame Golf Course during the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 4.Grant Tobin | The Observer

Irish senior Martin Grady races down the fairway of Notre Dame Golf Course during the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 4.

Individually, sophomore Sydni Meunier and senior Patrick Lesiewicz led the Irish, crossing the finish line first in the women’s and men’s races, respectively. It was the first varsity win in each runner’s career. Notre Dame placed at least three runners in the top five of both races.

The varsity squad made its unofficial debut two weeks later at the National Catholic Championships at Notre Dame Golf Course. Facing top Catholic schools such as Marquette and Xavier, the Irish rolled to a sweep of the men’s and women’s team titles, including a 1-2-3 finish in the women’s race from seniors Kelly Curran and Alexa Aragon and junior Emily Frydrych.

On the men’s side, Notre Dame lost the individual crown to Loyola junior Sam Penzenstadler but swept in after him, claiming the next six spots for a decisive team victory.

Two weeks later, the Irish returned to Notre Dame Golf Course for the Notre Dame Invitational. However, they were unable to repeat their previous domination, with the men finishing in sixth and the women placing seventh.

At their next meet, the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, both the men’s and women’s teams managed to place in the top fifteen against an elite field, despite battling injuries and illnesses.

Graduate student Jeremy Rae, returning from an injury which derailed his previous season, led the Irish in both races, placing fifth and 45th, respectively.

In the postseason, the Irish men placed third and the women fourth in both the ACC championships and the NCAA Great Lakes regional. Rae, Curran, junior Hannah Eckstein and senior Martin Grady each earned all-ACC honors, while Rae, Grady and Curran all finished in the top 10 at the regional meet.

At the national championship, the women performed below expectations, finishing 29th in a field of 31 teams, while the men placed 23rd. Grady led the Irish, claiming 35th place and All-American accolades, while the women’s squad was led once again by Curran, who placed 94th.

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