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ND Cross Country: Notre Dame wins tourney

Molly Sammon | Monday, September 21, 2009

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams acquired their second overall win on Friday at the 30th annual home-hosted National Catholic Invitational.

“We have a lot more depth this year, and it was nice grouping up together during the race,” sophomore Rachel Velarde said. “It is much easier to race when your teammates are right next to you.”

For most of the top runners, this was their first race of the 2009 season.

“National Catholic is just a tune up race to shake some of the rust off because we haven’t raced since outdoor track,” senior Jake Walker said.

Finishing second in the men’s division and first for the Irish, Walker (24:59.1) was only five seconds behind the first place finisher from DePaul University.

Notre Dame runners junior Dan Jackson (25:15.0), sophomore Jordan Carlson (25.24.1), junior Ryan Gamboa (25.30.7), sophomore Joe Miller (23.35.7), junior Ryan Jacobs (24.34.6) and freshman J.P. Malette (25.40.8) finished in the top 10 on Friday.

In the overall competition, the men’s team received 24 points. Xavier finished in second place with 120 points, and Bellarmine University placed third.

For the women’s division, the star of the race was senior Lindsey Ferguson (17.33.1) who finished in first at the National Catholic Invitational for the second year in a row. The team as a whole received 20 points with their closest competitors from Canisius College with 129 points and DePaul University with 150 points.

Junior Marissa Treece (17.56.5), junior Erica Watson (18:94.4), Velarde (18:05.0), senior Beth Tacl (18:12.8), freshman Rebecca Tracy (18:20.9) and junior Theresa Cattuna (18:24.1) all placed in the top ten in the women’s division.

“The rest of the season is much more intense as we will be challenged by many nationally ranked teams,” Velarde said.

Though it was a large race with 33 total teams, only seven of the participating schools were Division I teams.

“Our focus is on the Notre Dame Invite in two weeks where the competition level is much greater,” Walker said. “The Notre Dame Invite will tell us how we compare to some of the best teams in the country.”

The second of the season’s two home meets, the Notre Dame Invitational will take place on Oct. 2 at the Burke Golf Course.