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ND Cross Country: Both teams claim invite victories

Tim Singler | Monday, September 20, 2010

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams captured their respective National Catholic Invitational titles Friday at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

The men’s team claimed its 21st victory since the inception of the race in 1980. The team finished with 35 points, which was enough to stay ahead of second place Marquette, who concluded with 76 points. Bellarmine University captured both Division II titles.

Senior Dan Jackson led the men’s team with a second place finish. He ran the five-mile race in 24:10, one minute less than last year’s performance. After Friday’s showing, Jackson is convinced that the team can jump into contention with the top talent in the country.

“We met all of our own expectations in this race, but we have much bigger goals,” Jackson said. “We want to establish ourselves as one of the best teams in the NCAA, and we’re confident we can do that.”

Also turning in strong showings were sophomore J.P. Malette, who finished in fifth with a time of 24:53, and sophomore Jeremy Rae, who crossed the line at 25:00. Freshman Martin Grady turned in a time of 25:11 for a ninth place finish.

The women’s team also had a successful race, capturing the crown for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. The Irish finished with 41 points to claim the championship. Dayton finished in second with 86 points.

Freshman Meg Ryan won the individual title in her Notre Dame debut. She finished the five-kilometer race in 15:37.

“That was obviously the top performance for us, and a great way for her to begin her college career,” Irish coach Tim Connelly said. “It should be a big confidence builder for her as we face more intense competition as the season progresses.”

Senior Erica Watson (18:04) and junior Rachel Velarde (18:05) finshed eighth and ninth respectively.

Both teams will compete next in the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m.