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ND Cross Country

Irish to compete at Great Lakes regionals

| Thursday, November 12, 2015

Notre Dame returns to action this weekend at the NCAA Great Lakes regional.

The NCAA regional follows the ACC Championships in Tallahassee, Florida, at the end of October, where the Irish women placed third and the men took sixth.

In Notre Dame’s last outing, the Irish women were led once again by senior Molly Seidel, who picked up her second career ACC title with a time of 19:36.2 in the six-kilometer race. Freshman star Anna Rohrer finished right behind Seidel for second place overall with a time of 20:08.3.

Senior Karen Lesiewicz finished 16th in 20:38.7 and freshman Rachel DaDamio placed 21st, running a time of 20:45.4, to continue Notre Dame’s strong start to the race, but the Irish were harmed by their fifth finisher — freshman Annie Heffernan didn’t cross the line for another minute, finishing 58th.

Freshman Annie Heffernan competes at the National Catholic  Championships on Sept. 18 at the Notre Dame Golf Course.Sarah Olson | The Observer

Freshman Annie Heffernan competes at the National Catholic
Championships on Sept. 18 at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

On the men’s side, Notre Dame was led by senior Michael Clevenger, who finished in 13th place with an eight-kilometer time of 23:58.5. Fellow senior Timothy Ball was the next highest finisher for the Irish, finishing in 26th with a final time of 24:26.7. Junior Jacob Dumford placed 32nd with a time of 24:35.1, while junior Chris Marco and sophomore Kevin Pulliam also came in under the 25-minute mark to round out Notre Dame’s scoring runners.

The NCAA regional races will be held at the Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course in Madison, Wisconsin.

Irish associate head coach Matthew Sparks said the women’s squad has high expectations for the weekend.

“The women’s team is expecting to qualify for the NCAA championships,” Sparks said. “In order for the men to qualify, they are going to have to run the race of their season.”

This will be the second time that the Irish have raced at this course in the season. In October, Notre Dame competed in the Wisconsin Invitational, which was held on the same course. The Irish women took 12th and the men took 27th in the Wisconsin Invitational, which featured several of the top cross country teams in the nation.

Sparks said running there last month gives the Irish an advantage Friday.

“It certainly helps that we ran there earlier this season,” said Sparks. “Some of the men have ran the course six or eight times throughout their careers. The women’s team is a younger team, so there isn’t quite as much experience, but it still helps that we had a race there earlier this season.”

The NCAA Great Lakes regional will be the penultimate event of the season for the Irish, with the NCAA championship scheduled for next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. While the race will be a 6K for the women, just like the ACC championship, the men will run in their first 10-kilometer race of the season.

“You can look at it two ways,” said Sparks of Friday’s stage. “You can look at it as added pressure and shell up and become timid as a result, or you can look at it as an opportunity.”

The NCAA Great Lakes regional is scheduled to begin Friday at noon in Madison, Wisconsin.

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