ND Cross Country
Split squads finish last meets before ACC championships
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, October 24, 2017
The men’s and women’s cross country teams have concluded their last meets before the ACC championships. The women’s team competed in the Nuttycombe Invitational on Oct. 13 and the men’s team competed in the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 14.
The women’s team finished 24th as a team in the 6,000-meter race at the Zimmer Championship Course . The meet consisted of 32 teams, including 15 teams in the top-30 national rankings. The Irish finished fourth out of the five ACC teams at the meet, trailing NC State, Syracuse and Virginia; Florida State was the team that trailed the Irish.
Junior Annie Heffernan ran for an Irish-best 29th overall in the Women’s A Race with a mark of 20:22.1. This was Heffernan’s third-best time of her career, only behind her time of 20:05.0 at the 2016 ACC championships and her 20:19.3 time at the 2016 NCAA Great Lakes Regionals.
Up-and-coming freshman Anna Sophia Keller finished 84th overall with a time of 21:03.1 in her first collegiate 6,000-meter race. Keller finished with the 2nd best time for the Irish and was trailed by junior Rachel DaDamio who finished with a time of 21:18.4, freshman Claudia Magnussen who finished with a time of 21:59.7, and senior Kaitlin Frei who finished with a time of 22:02.9. These four plus Heffernan were the top-five for the Irish in the Women’s A Race.
The Irish were led by freshman Erin Sullivan in the Women’s B Race, who finished with a time of 23:01.6, and was followed by junior Kelly Hart, who ran for a mark of 23:29.8.
The men’s team competed in the Men’s Red and Men’s Black 8,000-meter races at the University of Louisville on the E.P. Tom Sawyer Park course. In a 41 team race, the Irish finished 15th overall as a team with 450 points.
In the Men’s Red 8,000-meter race, senior Kevin Pulliam led the Irish with a time of 24:14.8 — a new personal best for Pulliam, who finished 68th overall. Sophomore Tyler Keslin had the second-best time for the Irish, crossing the finish line in a time of 24:23.1 and finishing 86th overall. All top-five runners ran close to each other, which played a major part in Notre Dame’s 15th-place performance. Trailing Keslin was freshman Yared Nuguse, who finished with a time of 24:26.6. Nuguse was followed by graduate student Bradley Wattleworth, who ran for 24:23.1, and freshman Vince Zona, who recorded a time of 24:34.7.
In the Men’s Black 8,000-meter race, freshman Andrew Alexander ran for 45th overall with a mark of 25:13.3 and freshman Brian Griffith finished 49th overall with a mark of 25:15.7.
Taking a step in the right direction, the Irish performed better than Dartmouth, Arizona, Baylor, Dayton and Georgia at the Pre-National Invitation, However, the Irish still trailed several notable teams such as Colorado, BYU, Oregon and Georgetown.
The Nuttycombe and Pre-National meets served as precursors to the ACC championships. The competition will take place Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, and will also be hosted at the E.P. Tom Sawyer Park.