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ND Cross Country

Irish ‘much improved’ at ACC Championships

| Sunday, November 2, 2014

In the ACC Championships at the Panorama Farms Cross Country course in Charlottesville, Virginia, Notre Dame finished seventh on the men’s side and fifth in the women’s race.

On the women’s side of the meet, six ranked teams competed. No. 15 North Carolina won the event with 57 points, beating out No. 12 Florida State, the defending national champions, by 42 points. No. 13 Virginia (109), No. 18 North Carolina State (119) and the Irish (132) rounded out the top five.

Leading the Irish was junior Molly Seidel, who finished fifth out of 140 runners, completing the six-kilometer race in 20:11.2. Last season, Seidel placed 26th in the ACC Championships, but Irish coach Matt Sparks said her finish last year failed to reflect her true potential.

“Molly’s first two years at Notre Dame were marked with various injuries,” Sparks said. “As a result, she was a little hesitant to race aggressive early in the season. Now, Molly’s confidence is growing weekly and it is reflected in her races.”

Along with Seidel, junior Danielle Aragon earned all-ACC honors after finishing in 19th place. Senior Emily Frydrych followed close behind in 24th. Rounding out Notre Dame’s scoring lineup, senior Karen Lesiewicz placed 38th and senior Katie Moran, Notre Dame’s fifth woman across the line, finished 46th.

Going into the meet, Sparks said he hoped for the women to place in the top five and defeat several ranked teams in the process.

“Both teams were much improved from the Wisconsin Invitational two weeks ago,” Sparks said. “The women especially made big strides. The women were able to take down No. 16 Syracuse and No. 30 Boston College.”

The men’s team finished in seventh, led by junior Michael Clevenger, who placed 21st out of 137 runners and earned all-ACC honors, improving upon his 27th place finish last season. He completed the eight-kilometer race in 23:57. Junior Timothy Ball was close behind in 24th.

Senior Jake Kildoo placed 40th, sophomore Jacob Dumford finished 46th and freshman Calvin Kraft, the final scoring Irish runner, placed 72nd.

“This was the first conference experience for six of the nine men competing,” Sparks said. “The young guys are starting to take ownership of the program. Michael Clevenger competed well as he battled for an all-conference spot.”

Sparks said he wants the team to carry the success at the ACC Championships over to the Great Lakes Regional meet, where both squads will compete for a berth in the NCAA championship.

“Both teams need to build off the positive momentum we found at the ACC meet,” Sparks said. “Staying confident and believing in themselves, their teammates and their training are all key ingredients to championship racing.”

Notre Dame has two weeks away from competition before the team races again, at the same course where the Irish competed in the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, their worst performance of the season. Both squads finished in 30th place, their lowest final standings in any regular season meet since 2004.

The Irish will travel to Madison, Wisconsin to compete in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet on Nov. 14.

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About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

Contact Manuel