ND Cross Country
Notre Dame women, men place second to open season
Ryan Klaus | Monday, September 7, 2015
For the 13th consecutive year, Notre Dame cross country opened its season by partaking in the Crusader Open, where both the Irish men and women’s squads finished as runners-up at Sunset Hill Farm County Park in Valparaiso, Indiana, on Friday evening.
Purdue took home top marks in both the men’s and women’s races at the three-team event, hosted by Valparaiso, and Irish associate head coach Matthew Sparks said the meet offered a chance to get the team’s young runners experience early in the year.
“It was a good opportunity for our underclassmen to compete,” Sparks said. “It helped some freshmen who are transitioning from high school running to college running get a taste of college running in a smaller field with only two other teams there. It gave our younger athletes the chance to get their feet wet in a less-competitive environment.”
Leading the way for the Irish men was sophomore Calvin Kraft, who finished fourth overall in the six-kilometer race with a time of 18:47.9. Junior Chris Marco and sophomore Kevin Pulliam finished seventh and ninth, posting times of 18:56.8 and 18:58.4 respectively, while freshman Aaron Roe (19:29.7) and sophomore Billy Dolan (19:42.7) closed out the Irish quintet’s second-place performance.
“Calvin [Kraft] is someone that was on the fringe of our varsity a year ago as a freshman,” said Sparks. “His performance on Friday went a long way in solidifying a varsity spot for him.”
Notre Dame’s top finisher overall Friday was sophomore Sydney Foreman, who finished second in the women’s five-kilometer race with a time of 17:56.2. Like the men, the Irish women saw two further top-10 finishes, as junior Elli Brady finished seventh in 18:38.2 and sophomore Kaitlin Frei placed ninth with a time of 19:09.6. A pair of freshmen, Ella Fennelly and Kelly Hart, finished 11th and 14th to complete Notre Dame’s scoring for the meet.
Sparks said Foreman’s second-place finish was important in the sophomore’s pursuit of a spot in the varsity seven this year.
“That was a big step for her,” Sparks said. “She’s someone that is making a run for our varsity team this year. Saturday was a big step for her in terms of getting one of those top seven spots.”
On top of taking home team honors, the Boilermakers also had the top individual finishers in each race — sophomore Jeremy Craven won the men’s race while junior Hope Schmelzie won the women’s.
While the younger runners were competing in Valparaiso, Sparks said the returning varsity runners had the weekend to train and elevate their fitness levels prior to the National Catholic Championship, which the Irish host at Notre Dame Golf Course on Sept. 18. It will be the next meet for the Irish, whose women enter as the defending champions.