The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Cross Country: Irish place 10th, 16th at Invite

Molly Sammon | Monday, October 5, 2009

Friday’s 54th annual Notre Dame Invitational gave both the men’s and women’s cross country teams a chance to compete against some of the nation’s best runners and most competitive programs.

The men finished the day in 16th place while the women finished 10th.

As the hosts of Friday’s meet at the Burke Golf Course, the Irish looked on their invitational as an opportunity to measure their chances of getting a bid to the NCAA championships event in late November.

“Overall, the meet was a bit of a sobering experience,” junior Mat Abernethy said. “It showed us that we need to refocus our efforts in the weeks to come in order to have a chance at qualifying for the national meet.”

Seventeen ranked teams traveled to Notre Dame for the meet, including the defending champion Washington Huskies, Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Florida State and New Mexico.

“This was by far the best competition we’ve seen this season as of yet,” Abernethy said. “A number of ranked teams were in the field, and as such the pace was telling.”

The men’s team totaled 384 points. Junior Dan Jackson (24:37) finished first among the Irish and 45th overall. Senior Jake Walker, sophomore Joe Miller, junior Ryan Jacobs and sophomore Johnathan Shawel all finished in the top 100 runners for the men’s blue division.

“We entered the meet with expectations to finish in the top five,” Jacobs said. “The team walked away from the meet extremely dissatisfied as we expect to compete with and beat the best teams in the nation in every race we run.”

On the women’s side of the competition, senior Lindsey Ferguson (17:08) finished first for the Irish in 15th place and made her best performance at the Notre Dame Invitational since joining the team. Junior Marissa Treece (17:38), sophomore Rachel Velarde, junior Erica Watson, senior Beth Tacl, junior Theresa Cattuna and freshman Rebecca Tracy all finished in the top 100. The women’s team totaled 288 points.

“We would have liked to have a better showing but it was still a good starting point to the season,” Ferguson said.

Despite not placing as high as they had desired on Friday, it helped to set the rest of the season in perspective as they prepared themselves to qualify for nationals.

“We know what our competition will be like, how they will race, and what we need to do in order to beat them,” Treece said. “We have a very positive outlook coming out of this weekend, even if we did not perform to the level we had hoped for.”

The next event for both teams is the Pre-National Meet on Oct. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind.