ND Cross Country
Rohrer wins Joe Piane Invite
Joe Everett | Monday, October 3, 2016
On a misty Friday afternoon, Irish sophomore Anna Rohrer put on a show in front of fans from all across the country, finishing in first place at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational.
The Mishawaka product was able to pass California junior Bethan Knights and New Mexico junior Alice Wright to win the 5-kilometer race, setting a personal record (16:11.7) in the process. Associate head coach Matthew Sparks commented on the historic performance of Rohrer, who recorded the second-fastest time at the Joe Piane Invitational Invitational in the past 20 years.
“[I’m] excited to see Anna win,” Sparks said. “It’s always nice to have an individual champion — I know it’s been a while since [a Notre Dame runner] has actually won a Notre Dame Invitational — so it’s nice to put us back on the map with that.”
Sophomore Annie Heffernan also recorded a personal best, as she finished 20th with a time of 16:47.1.
However, Rohrer’s victory was one of the few bright spots for the Irish on Friday. The No. 16-ranked women’s team finished in eight place out of 23 schools, while the men’s team finished dead last in a group of 25 teams. Although both teams are currently dealing with injuries, Sparks highlighted that both teams didn’t run their best against the nationally-ranked competition alongside them.
“Both teams disappointed with where we were,” Sparks said. “The women’s team is 16th in the country and we finished eighth at our home meet. We held a few people out but we still felt we should be top-five [team] with the lineup we brought to the table today, so we’re disappointed and we’re going to start putting more pieces of the puzzle together, bringing some bodies back that weren’t real healthy today, and they’re going to improve and be better two weeks from now.
“On the men’s side, there’s a lot of the pieces that just weren’t coming together today, and we have to do a lot of things to right the ship right now, because we’re going in the wrong direction quick, and its going to improve in the next two weeks.”
Although the day as a whole didn’t go Notre Dame’s way, Sparks nonetheless took away some positives from the meet, especially individual performances that stuck out to him.
“In the gold race we ran a few girls that had been hurt — that hadn’t raced for a couple of years. [Senior] Lexi Pelletier ran her first cross country race in two years so getting her back into the mix was good — she’ll be running varsity for us the next time out,” Sparks said.
“[Junior] John Flannery on the men’s side is someone who’s traditionally not in our top varsity group — he’s not traditionally in our top seven but he got to run varsity today and finished third for us. John will be the first to tell you that he shouldn’t be in the top seven, but he really ran well … and it’s good to see the steps he’s taken recently.”
The Irish will next compete Oct. 14, when the men run in the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Illinois, at 4 p.m. and the women race in the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, at 1:30 p.m.