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Irish compete in Big Easts today

Bobby Griffin | Friday, October 29, 2004

The Irish look to continue what has been a successful season to this point when they compete in the Big East Championships today. The Irish have displayed consistency all year, which will be a huge positive for them going into the race.Both the men and women face tough opposition in Boston this weekend, as they will be racing against several competitive teams. The men, who are currently ranked fifth in the nation, will have to face a slew of ranked opponents. Georgetown heads into the race ranked seventh, Villanova is ranked 18th and Providence is ranked 22nd. The women do not have it much easier. Ranked sixth in the nation, the women will have to face Providence and Villanova, among others. According to one poll, Providence is ranked second going into the race, and Villanova is ranked 18th.As their rankings indicate, both the men and women have performed extremely well all season. Both teams finished first in the National Catholic Championships, and then against stiffer competition, the men took second in the ND Invitational while the women took third. On Oct. 16, both teams again finished second in the Pre-National Championships. The only team that the Irish have had consistent trouble beating this year has been Stanford, who finished ahead in both the Notre Dame Invitational and the Pre-National Championships.The Irish have been led by a solid group of runners all season. For the men, sophomore Kurt Benninger has placed in the top 10 twice already, taking eighth in the Pre-Nationals and second in the Notre Dame Invitational. Benninger has clearly been a major reason for the men’s success all year.On the women’s side, Molly Huddle has been a model of consistency this season with a third-place finish in the Pre-Nationals and a second-place finish in the Notre Dame Invite. The Irish women have had a lot of success in this race. They are two-time defending champions, and last year, Huddle finished third in the event leading a pack of Irish runners, Kerry Meagher, Lauren King and Stephanie Madia, who all finished in the top 20.King won the race in 2002.The race will begin today at 11 a.m. for the men and 11:50 a.m. for the women.