The Irish cross country teams ran steadily with their expectations and each finished in sixth place at Saturday’s Big East conference meet in Kenosha, Wisc. as they competed against some of the best runners and best teams in the nation.
“Our results this weekend mean that we need to compete really well as a team at the regional meet,” senior Lindsey Ferguson said.
An already particularly difficult and hilly course, the Wayne E. Dannehl cross country course had been negatively affected by recent weather, which made Saturday’s conference meet even more challenging for the Irish and the other Big East competitors.
“There was a lot of rain in the days preceding the race, so there was a lot of mud and standing water to battle through during the race,” sophomore Rachel Velarde said. “The conditions were not ideal but it felt like true cross country racing.”
The Big East has six teams in the NCAA top 30 in the women’s division with Notre Dame finishing the rankings in the 30th spot. Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, Syracuse, and Providence each scored better than Notre Dame as a team.
In the men’s division, five nationally ranked teams, Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville and Providence each beat out the Notre Dame men’s team Saturday.
For the women, Ferguson improved on her placement from last year and finished first for Notre Dame and 10th overall with a time of 21:40. Freshman Jessica Rydberg, 22:24, senior Beth Tacl, 22:28, junior Erica Watson, 22:40, Velarde, 22:40, freshman Rebecca Tracy, 22:50 and junior Marissa Treece, 22:53 each finished in the top 50 as well.
In the men’s division, senior Jake Walker ran the course in 25:57 and was the first from Notre Dame to cross the finish line and 28th overall. He was closely followed by junior Dan Jackson, 25:58, junior Ryan Jacobs, 26:08, sophomore Johnathan Shawel, 26:17, sophomore Joe Miller, 26:42, junior Paul Springer, 26:59, and sophomore Jordan Carlson, 26:59 who each placed in the top 50 finishers.
The teams were looking to not only measure themselves against tough competition at the Big East championship, but also to scale themselves against the other nationally ranked competitors they will race against at the upcoming NCAA regional and national meets.
“After this weekend and pre-nationals, we have a good idea about what the competition at nationals will look like,” Ferguson said. “We will be able to prepare for regionals and nationals better because of it.”