ND Cross Country
Notre Dame men and women claim victory at National Catholic Invitational
Mike Everett | Monday, September 17, 2018
The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at Burke Golf Course on Friday as they hosted catholic schools across the country for the National Catholic Invitational. Both the men and women took first place overall, with many individual top-place finishers.
The women ran a nearly perfect race, accumulating a total of 18 points from their top five runners, crowning what is now their 12th consecutive victory at the annual invite.
“On the womens team we had a lot of younger athletes step up and perform well,” head coach Matt Sparks said. “They raced liked veterans. We had good leadership among seniors like Annie Heffernan who is now a three-time champion. We knew coming, in with the womens team being nationally ranked that we were in a good position to succeed.”
The top five Irish runners all placed in the top ten. Senior Annie Heffernan led the Irish women in the 5,000 meter race, coming in first overall with a time of 17:24, marking her third straight victory at the meet. Freshmen Jacqueline Gaughan and Elana Denner were close behind in second and third with times of 17:27 and 17:28 respectively. Senior Rachel DaDamio placed fourth with a time of 17:38 and sophomore Annasophia Keller rounded out the Irish top five, coming in at eighth place with a time of 17:58. Freshman Kelli Reagan and sophomore Claudia Magnussen placed in the top-15 for the Irish as well, and sophomore Erin Sullivan finished first in the Open Race.
On the men’s side, the Irish took first as well, reclaiming their top spot after disappointing results in previous years. Sparks praised the team for rebounding from last year.
“We struggled in this race for the last couple years but came out with a new intensity,” Sparks said. “The seniors stepped up and raced like the veterans we expected them to be. The freshmen, one of the top recruiting classes in the country, stepped up … and adjusted well. For many of them this was their first collegiate race”.
The five scoring runners for the men all placed in the top-10. Senior Anthony Williams came in first for Notre Dame and second overall in the 8,000 meter race, recording a time of 24:47. Junor Kevin Salvano followed up at third, clocking in at 24:56. Sophomore Yared Nuguse placed fourth at 25:02, sophomore Andrew Alexander came in sixth with a time of 25:05 and junior Tyler Keslin came in fifth for the Irish and 10th overall, finishing with a time of 25:15. Freshman Zach Kreft, sophomore Brian Griffith, junior Dustin Macuiba and sophomore Vince Zona all placed in the top-20 for the Irish as well.
Coach Sparks lauded the team as a whole for their energy and response to difficulty and unfavorable weather.
“We had depth, others stepped up and filled those leadership roles, with people being sick and with the heat,” Sparks said.
The Irish look to continue their success when they compete at their next meet, again at Burke Golf Course, on Friday, Sept. 28, where they will host the Joe Piane invitational.