ND Cross Country
Seidel, Rohrer pace Irish with one-two finish at ACCs
Marek Mazurek | Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Senior All-American Molly Seidel has crossed the finish line first many times in her career. What was different at last Friday’s ACC championship was freshman Anna Rohrer finishing right behind her.
The one-two finish by Seidel and Rohrer led the way for the Irish as the women’s squad finished third behind Virginia and North Carolina State, while the men’s team finished sixth at the conference championship behind an all-ACC performance from senior Michael Clevenger.
With her first-place finish in 19:36.2 over six kilometers, Seidel adds her first cross country conference title to her list of accolades.
“I definitely think this one is really special,” Seidel said. “Being able to win a conference championship is something really special. You’re out there competing for your team and representing your university. It definitely really meant a lot to me.”
Seidel’s happiness got an extra boost from the fact that Rohrer finished in second, she said.
“I remember coming to the finish line and seeing Anna coming throug, … such a cool moment,” Seidel said. “Knowing how hard she’s worked throughout the season and being able to have a teammate right there is really special. Being able to have that strength and depth in the team really ups our confidence. It’s a cool feeling to be able to share that with my teammates.”
Though the spotlight was squarely on Seidel and Rohrer in the women’s race, graduate student Karen Lesiewicz and freshman Rachel DaDamio made strong contributions to the team by finishing 16th and 21st, respectively, to earn all-ACC honors.
Irish associate head coach Matthew Sparks said Lesiewicz and DaDamio’s performances made the difference in the meet.
“The two that really surprised us honestly were Karen Lesiewicz and Rachel DaDamio finishing in the all-conference spots,” Sparks said. “Karen especially is somebody that’s a fifth-year [who] barely made the travel squad her first four years here, stepped up to help us out.”
On the men’s side, Clevenger finished 13th with a time of 23:58.4 over eight kilometers, followed by senior Timothy Ball in 26th place and juniors Jacob Dumford and Chris Marco in 32nd and 36th, respectively.
Sparks said the key performer for the men’s team was Dumford, who has shown bursts of excellence this season but lacked consistency on race day.
“[Dumford’s] performance was huge for us,” Sparks said. “He’s got a world of talent, and we see it everyday in practice, we just hadn’t seen it come race time. The other four in that top five have run pretty consistently all year, we just hadn’t have that consistency out of Jake yet. Jake slipped right up into that top five and managed to beat Florida State. … That was a good step for our men’s team.”
The women’s third place finish is the best for Notre Dame since it joined the ACC for the 2013 season, while a sixth-place finish for the men marks an improvement over last year’s seventh-place finish, and Sparks said he was pleased with both results.
“[I’m] definitely satisfied,” Sparks said. “You can always look back and say, ‘Man if we’d done this or that, we’d have been a couple spots higher.’ I think we’ve set ourselves up for a championship run over the next three weeks. Especially on the women’s side with our [top] four running that well. If we come out and do that again, we’ll be close to an automatic berth.”
The team will have this weekend off before returning to action at the NCAA Great Lakes regional qualifying race for a chance to go on to the NCAA championships. Sparks said his goal for the upcoming weeks is to ease up on his top runners in terms of sheer mileage, but to increase the quality of the practices.
“We’re going to back off the total volume of milage that we’ve been running,” Sparks said. “But what we’ll do is bump up the intensity. The kids that run 100 miles a week will be down to 85, 90 miles, but we’ll up the intensity of what we’re doing.”