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ND Cross Country

Irish sweep individual titles

| Sunday, September 21, 2014

Notre Dame continued their run of success at the 35th annual National Catholic Championships on Friday, taking home both the men’s and women’s individual titles, as well as the women’s team crown.

The women’s victory marked the 21st time in 23 years the squad has finished first at this race, while the men’s team saw its streak of five straight titles snapped by Canisius.

“We definitely met our goals for this meet,” Irish junior Molly Seidel, who won the women’s race, said. “We can’t rest on our laurels, but we can be happy with how we raced.”

Irish junior Molly Seidel races through the course at the National Catholic Championships on Friday at Notre Dame Golf Course.Wei Lin| The Observer

Irish junior Molly Seidel races through the course at the National Catholic Championships on Friday at Notre Dame Golf Course.

In the first varsity race of the day at Notre Dame Golf Course, Seidel led a pack of Irish runners, as Notre Dame put all five of its scoring runners in the top seven, adding three more runners in the top 20.

“Going into the race, Coach [Matt] Sparks had wanted us to go out and race as a group and get a good team effort in for the first two miles,” Seidel said. “Then, for the last mile, we were supposed to kind of go out and see what we could do. I think originally we went out a little bit too fast and got a bit broken up, but I felt like we kept a good pack up at the front, and it put us in a good position to go and get a strong team finish.”

Seidel’s winning time of 17:09.04 put her more than 11 seconds in front of junior Danielle Aragon, who finished second. Seidel’s win is the 12th straight individual win for Notre Dame women at the National Catholic Championships. On the team side, Marquette finished second, scoring three points to Notre Dame’s 19.

“Marquette came out and made us run fast,” Seidel said. “It’s our home course, and it’s fun racing at home, and so having your family there and your friends coming out, you want to represent the school on your home turf. So I think that keeps us … trying hard year after year.”

On the men’s side, senior Jake Kildoo and sophomore Chris Marco claimed the top two spots in the five-mile race. While the Irish maintained a large pack at the front of the race in the early going, the group began to string out over the last miles.

However, Canisius, led by sophomore Jeffery Antolos, steadily moved up and claimed five of the next nine spots to take its first title.

“[The men’s team] is definitely disappointed to some degree,” Seidel said. “I know Chris Marco and Jake Kildoo went out there and raced a really hard race. … But when they come back for the [Notre Dame Invitational], I know that they’ll be using this as a way to really get angry and go even harder.”

The squad was also hurt by the absence of juniors Michael Clevenger and Timothy Ball, who typically place in the top three for the Irish. Clevenger had a minor injury, and Ball had a family obligation. The pair is expected to return for the next meet on the schedule, the Notre Dame Invitational, in two weeks.

Despite the loss, Seidel said the Irish were satisfied with their performance on the whole but already are looking ahead to the Notre Dame Invitational, at which the team will host some of the top teams in the country.

“We still have a lot of work to do as we go on in the season,” she said. “We have a good two weeks to build on what we got. … [We’re going to use this] to get even more of a fire under us.”

The Irish race next at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3. at Notre Dame Golf Course.

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About Greg Hadley

Greg Hadley is a senior from Rockville, Maryland, majoring in political science with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He served as The Observer's Editor-in-Chief for the 2015-2016 term and currently covers Notre Dame baseball and women's basketball.

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