ND Cross Country
Irish squad splits up for Friday meets
Joe Everett | Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Notre Dame will compete in two separate cross country meets Friday, as the women’s team will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to compete in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational while the men’s team will head to Peoria, Illinois, to run in the Bradley Classic.
After two straight home meets on the Burke Golf Course, the Irish will compete on a national stage away from home for the first time this season. The Irish will also be looking to put some of their early-season struggles behind them, as associate head coach Matt Sparks called the teams’ performances at the Joe Piane Invitational “disappointing” after the women’s team finished eighth out of 23 teams while the men’s team finished last amongst 25 teams in their respective races. The women’s team will be facing stiff competition this weekend at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, according to Sparks, who said he believes the quality of opponents the women’s team will see should prepare them for the especially important meets up ahead on their schedule.
“The women will be competing in the most competitive regular season meet in the country at Wisconsin,” Sparks said. “It will be a great simulation for the NCAA championship meet, where we hope to be competing in late November.”
The women’s team will be led by sophomore Anna Rohrer, who was recently named both the ACC Performer of the Week and the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week after winning the Joe Piane Invitational and setting an Irish record in the process with her time of 16:11.7. Rohrer should take care of her business, Sparks said, but he added that the success of the Irish will largely depend on the performance of the runners directly behind Rohrer.
“We are really looking to close the gap from our number two through five runners,” Sparks said. “[Sophomore] Annie Heffernan was a strong number two runner for us at the Notre Dame Invitational, and we would like to see [sophomore] Rachel DaDamio, [senior] Lexi Pelletier, [graduate student] Danielle Aragon and [junior] Sydney Foreman run much closer to her.”
On the other side, the men’s team has had its share of injuries and poor performances this season, capped off by its finishing in last place at a home meet. However, Sparks said there’s been a positive tone among the team members in preparation for the Bradley Classic, which could be a good opportunity for the team to gain some confidence before the ACC championships after fall break.
“They’re coming off a disappointing performance at the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago, but they’ve come back to practice with positive energy and a chip on their shoulder,” Sparks said. “They know they are much better than they raced last time out. Now, they need to race with confidence, just like they have been practicing.”
Both the women’s and men’s squads will be looking for strong bounce-back performances Friday as they begin preparation for the ACC and NCAA championships. The Wisconsin Adidas Invitational will kick off at noon at the Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, and the Bradley Classic will begin at 3 p.m. on the Newman Golf Course in Peoria.