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Springer wins Invite, team places second

Laura Myers | Monday, September 22, 2008

Sophomore Paul Springer had the power of the Holy Spirit with him on Friday. Carrying a sign that read “Run for Jesus!,” Springer left his competition in the dust to take home first place in the National Catholic Championships at the Burke Golf Course at Notre Dame.

Springer, who completed the five-mile course in 24:54, helped his team to a second place finish just behind overall winner Duquesne University. Duquesne squeezed out a 45-44 victory for the win.

Springer and freshman teammate Joe Miller pulled ahead of the pack at the three-mile-mark, along with two Duquesne runners. Miller finished in second place with a time of 24:58.

“We wanted to get to the front of the pack, which we did,” men’s head coach Joe Piane said.

Of the seven men who ran for the Irish, only Springer had ever run in a collegiate race before. In total, Notre Dame ran two sophomores and five freshmen.

“[Miller] had a real solid race. We fed off each other,” Springer said.

Piane said he is ecstatic with Miller and sophomore Ryan Gamboa, who finished sixth. However, he saw room for improvement before the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3.

“The pack slipped apart after two miles,” he said. “We will run with more experience in two weeks.”

The Irish women had a good day as well, capturing first in the team category with a near-perfect 21 points. Dayton, the second-place team, finished with 107 total points.

Junior Lindsay Ferguson took first in the 283-woman field with a time of 17:31 on the three-mile course. Sophomore Marissa Treece finished second with a time of 17:53.

“I felt really good the whole race,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson and Treece pulled in front almost immediately, and ran together for the first two miles before Ferguson took off.

“[Treece] did really well,” Ferguson said. “We work really well together, it’s awesome that she was right there.”

The pair reversed roles from the 2007 NCC when Treece finished first and Ferguson finished second.

Freshman Rachel Velarde finished fifth, senior Becca Bauman finished sixth, sophomore Abby Higgins finished seventh, and junior Emily Wauford finished tenth for the Irish.

Women’s head coach Tim Connelly was not entirely pleased with the race, even though the Irish had seven runners finish in the top 11.

“Lindsay did well, a whole pack did well,” he said, but “it wasn’t what we wanted to see. The Notre Dame Invitational is a whole different world, and we’ve got to get a lot better before then.”