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ND Cross Country

Rohrer brings fresh talent to ND

| Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Notre Dame roster boasts some of the nation’s top recruits. And no, it’s not football or women’s basketball. It’s women’s cross country, led by freshman Anna Rohrer.

A Mishawaka, Indiana, native, Rohrer was a highly sought after recruit after she was named National Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2014-15. She has numerous state titles under her belt, and now she looks to extend her talents to the collegiate level as part of the Notre Dame cross country team.

And like many other students at the University, Rohrer chose to attend Notre Dame to balance her thirst for competition with her commitment to academics.

“I really like the rigorous academics [Notre Dame offers],” Rohrer said. “I knew I was going to get a great education coming here. And I really felt I connected with the team when I did my visit. And I also really liked the coach as well.”

Rohrer was not the only elite recruit to choose Notre Dame this past Spring. Freshmen Rachel DaDamio and Annie Heffernan committed before Rohrer made up her mind, and she said that DaDamio’s and Heffernan’s decisions helped cement her choice as well.

“It was just more reassurance that I was going to be a member of a very good and competitive team,” Rohrer said.

While Heffernan and DaDamio will certainly help, the pressure will heavily rest on Rohrer’s shoulders to be the team’s second option behind senior All-American Molly Seidel. However, Rohrer said that for her pressure is nothing new.

“I wouldn’t say I feel the pressure of it,” Rohrer said. “But I have thought about it and I know it’s going to come up soon. That’s kind of how it was for me in high school. I think it’s kind of a lifestyle now, learning to be a team leader.

“I think I’ll be able to fulfill the role well.”

And Rohrer has proven she is qualified for the task. In her first two collegiate meets, she posted two top-ten finishes. Rohrer took home the title at the National Catholic Championship on Sept. 18, and then battling the flu and a highly competitive field, managed to finish eighth at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invite on Oct. 2.

“It made it even more special that it was in my hometown [to compete at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invite],” Rohrer said. “I had a lot of fans there for me.

“Definitely not something to take for granted. It was a really neat experience I won’t forget.”

Seeing Rohrer’s name atop the leaderboard may be something Notre Dame fans can take for granted in the years to come as Rohrer, Heffernan, DaDamio and second year coach Matthew Sparks look to build a consistently competitive program.

“We actually talk about it a little bit, how excited we are for not just this season but the seasons down the road,” Rohrer said.

“It’s really just the beginning, and hopefully, we’ll get even more really talented runners on the team, and we’ll keep rising up.”

Luckily, the Irish do not have to wait for the future. With seniors like Molly Seidel and Danielle Aragon to guide Rohrer’s freshman class, big things may be in store for Notre Dame come the ACC Championships.

“We’re definitely expecting to be toward the top,” Rohrer said. “We know what we’re capable of. We definitely have the potential to be top-ranked in the nation.

“And as long as we stay healthy we’ll be able to live up to that.”

And with healthy, competitive players like Rohrer, that top ranking may not be wishful thinking for the Irish.

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About Marek Mazurek

Marek is a senior history major and is a former resident of Carroll Hall. He has lived in Mishawaka or South Bend for all 21 years of his life and covers Notre Dame football and men's basketball. He has loads of hand-eye coordination but lacks the height to be any good. Marek is also a proud esports supporter.

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