ND Cross Country
Irish look to make a statement at Joe Piane Invitational
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, September 27, 2018
As they gear up to host the 63rd national Joe Piane Invitational this weekend at Burke Golf Course, Notre Dame is expected to face its toughest field of competition this season. This is the second event on Burke Golf Course for the Irish, as Notre Dame hosted the National Catholic Invitational earlier in the month, with both team easily beating its nearest opponent, Dayton.
Last year at the Joe Piane Invitational, the women finished 13th overall in a pool of 20 competing teams, while the men finished 17th out of 21 teams. Notably, the women finished five runners in the top-100 last year, and senior Annie Heffernan was the first among the Irish runners to cross the finish line, placing in 24th out of 159 competitors total.
This year, a total of 39 teams will be competing in the field. This competitive field includes 37 men’s teams and 31 women’s teams. And among the field, 20 of the men’s teams are regionally ranked and 17 of the women’s teams are regionally ranked, five of those teams being nationally ranked, so the stakes will be heightened this week for the Irish.
In addition to the strong field expected to compete on Friday, senior Anna Rohrer will be making her return to the home course for the first time in two seasons due to injuries. Despite missing much of her collegiate career, Rohrer has built herself a reputation among the elites, being named the ACC Freshman of the Year as well as a two-time All American in the indoor 5,000-meter run. During her freshman year, Rohrer recorded a sixth-place finish at the national championship, second for the Irish behind former teammate and individual champion, Molly Seidel.
The women are currently ranked No. 23 in the nation. Meanwhile, the men are ranked No. 5 in the Great Lakes region after they finished the season at No. 6 in the region last year, while the women sit at third overall in the ACC rankings.
The men, who finished seventh in the ACC championships last year, find themselves at No. 4 in the ACC Preseason poll.
The Joe Piane Invitational is set to begin this Friday, Sept. 28 at the Burke Golf Course at 1 p.m. To start the event, the women’s 5K in the Blue Division will start at 1 p.m., which will be followed by the men’s 5 mile in the Blue Division at 1:45 p.m. After that, the Open Division men’s 5 mile and women’s 5K will begin at 2:30 p.m., and the tournament will be capped off by the Gold division women’s 5K at 3:15 p.m. and the Gold division men’s 5 mile at 4:00 p.m.
Following their second-straight home race, the Irish will get two weeks off before heading to Madison, Wisconsin, for Pre-Nationals.