ND Cross Country
Seidel runs to All-American honors
Manuel De Jesus | Sunday, November 23, 2014
After being among the last teams to qualify for the women’s NCAA championships, Notre Dame finished in 29th place out of 31 teams Saturday, adding another All-American to its program in junior Molly Seidel at Terre Haute, Indiana.
Seidel, who has led the Irish in each race she had run in throughout the season, completed the six-kilometer race in 20:23.4. In addition to placing 19th overall, Seidel was the first ACC runner to cross the finish line. Although Seidel said she was excited to have won All-American honors, the first Irish woman to do so since 2009, she also said she knows she has potential to be even better.
“It’s really amazing to step to the line at a national meet with the fastest women in the country, and then to come away from it as an All-American is just an unbelievable honor,” Seidel said. “It’s great to know that the enormous amount of work you put in over the summer and fall and all the sacrifices you’ve made really have paid off when it matters most, so I’m pretty ecstatic about how the season finished up.
“At the same time, I’m really not satisfied yet — I know that I can do better and want to keep pushing so that I can be up with the girls at the very front of the race. I think that’s what great about cross country — that you always have something bigger to strive towards no matter where you finish.”
Seidel’s most impressive performances this season include finishing first at the National Catholic Championships, fifth at the ACC championships and fourth at the Great Lakes regional championships. Leading the women’s squad all the way to a NCAA championship appearance, Seidel said she is satisfied with the way she carried herself throughout the season.
“I’m pretty happy overall with how I finished throughout the season since I was able to keep building and getting stronger as time went on,” Seidel said. “In the past two years I’ve had a pretty good start only to get injured and then race poorly or not at all the rest of the season, so it was really important for me to stay healthy and keep gradually improving at each race.”
Seniors Emily Frydrych, Karen Lesiewicz and Katie Moran finished 122nd (21:23.1), 174th (21:43.7) and 216th (22:07.7), respectively. Junior Danielle Aragon wrapped up the top five, finishing in 226th place (22:17.9).
In terms of improving the overall team’s performance for next season, Seidel said she is confident in her team’s ability to become a national championship contender.
“Cross country is such a team-oriented sport, and because of this, I think the all-American honor is more of a reflection of our team rather than me individually,” Seidel said. “I run with these girls every day in practice, gotten my butt kicked more times than I can count by them too, and I know that there is so much potential for success in every one of them.
“I think from here it’s not a matter of practicing harder but rather practicing smarter and mastering the mental component of racing. It’s doing all the little things over time, like getting enough rest, managing small injuries and having confidence to race aggressively, that’s going to take us from being a team that is 29th at nationals to one that’s contending for the national title.”
On the men’s side of the race, junior Michael Clevenger represented Notre Dame as an individual. He finished the 10-kilometer race in 31:29.9, putting him in 92nd place.
Now that the cross country season is over, the Irish will look towards the indoor track and field season on Dec. 5 when they host the Blue and Gold meet.