ND Cross Country
Irish take 11th; Rohrer takes third at NCAA championships
Joe Everett | Monday, November 21, 2016
Notre Dame sophomore Anna Rohrer raced to a third-place individual finish at the NCAA Championships this Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana on the LaVern Gibson Course.
The Mishawaka native ran a time of 19:44.16 — marking the second-fastest NCAA Championship 6-kilometer time in Irish women’s program history, only behind Molly Seidel’s top time of 19:28.6 from a year ago. After placing sixth at last year’s NCAA championship, Rohrer led the pack of 250 runners for much of the race and surged ahead at the 5-kilometer mark. The last 400 meters of the race saw three different leaders, with Rohrer, Michigan senior Erin Finn, and Missouri junior Karissa Schweizer trading places in the lead. Ultimately, Schweizer pulled ahead in the last 100 meters, winning her first national championship, with Finn edging out Rohrer for second place. Rohrer said she was expecting it to be a fast race coming into the competition.
“Going into the race I was definitely expecting it to be very fast and very hard the whole time, which it was,” Rohrer said. “That’s typically how national races run, which is in my favor, but I knew that if I wanted to win I would have to push the pace the whole time and not wait until the end, and so that’s what I did and with a [kilometer] left I picked it up and broke away a little bit. I brought it in as hard as I could, and it came down to the last 100 meters.”
“It was disappointing, but I know that I gave everything that I could.”
Irish sophomore Annie Heffernan finished 41st and graduate student Danielle Aragon crossed the finish line in 52nd. The women’s team as a whole finished in 11th place, and associate head coach Matthew Sparks commented on the team’s performance, saying he felt it was a day of close calls.
“I think we were on the edge of a great day, so it was a good day,” Sparks said. “We had a lot of near misses on the day — Anna missing out on first place overall, Annie just missing All-American honors, and the team just finishing outside the top 10. But it was a good day overall — our top three raced really well again.”
Sparks also touched on the level of impact that a special runner like Rohrer has on a program like Notre Dame — what she means to it now and in the future.
“She establishes Notre Dame as a national program, not only because it makes our current status strong, but it certainly helps us with recruiting as well,” Sparks said. “She’ll be a marquee name for a couple more years.”
It’s been a special individual season for Rohrer, the 2016 ACC champion, but she took a moment to value the quality of the season for the women’s team as a whole.
“We’ve definitely been on an upswing the whole year, because a lot of girls were injured over the summer, and so it’s been progressively better, which is really exciting,” Rohrer said. “It’s a big deal that we were able to finish the season with eight healthy girls running, so I think overall everyone’s pleased with their season, pleased with their performance; and it was a good day, a good season.”