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ND Cross Country

Irish squads notch top-five finishes at Joe Piane Invitational

| Monday, October 1, 2018

The men and women’s cross country teams put in an impressive performance at the Joe Piane Invitational — both teams finished in the top-five for the first time in six years.

In the five-mile race, the men’s team was led by sophomore Yared Nuguse who finished in 12th place with a time of 24:11 and junior Tyler Keslin who finished 15th overall with a time of 24:20. The men’s team scored 119 points overall which was good enough for third place.

The women’s team had three runners in the top-15 in the 5,00 meter race with senior Anna Rohrer returning to form with a third-place finish after missing all of last season due to a hamstring injury. Rohrer finished with a time of 16:35, followed by Irish freshman Jacqueline Gaughan who finished ninth overall with a time of 17:03. Irish senior Rachel DaDamio finished 13th overall with a time of 17:08, her personal best time.

Head coach Matt Sparks had high praise for the performances from Rohrer, Gaughan and DaDamio.

“Really proud of the way – especially the first three women that came across the finish line. Anna Rohrer, that’s her first race in nearly two years, she’s back healthy again and gaining confidence in her cross-country abilities,” Sparks said. “[Jacqueline] Gaughan as a freshman, her first time facing national level competition was a little bit of a shock to her but, she held in there really well. Rachel DaDamio came in on that third spot.”

Sparks also noted the importance of having Rohrer back, as she is an athlete that gives the team a lot of confidence.

“Obviously, there’s the low points score that you get when you have a superstar like that. But, she also brings just a general level of confidence to the entire crew when you know you have one of the best athletes in the country leading the way for you. We got a few young girls that are following right behind her and they get to train with her day in and day out,” Sparks said. “Last year we kind of missed that, she wasn’t there competing which was frustrating for everybody. Now that she’s back out there, she exudes confidence and it rubs off on everybody.”

The meet also included an open division, which is a lower tier race for developing talent. Notre Dame’s freshman Anna Fischer finished ninth overall in the women’s 5,000-meter race with a time of 18:02. Sparks said Fischer’s performance was been impressive.

“[The open division] race is for the [athletes] that aren’t in your top-seven or top-nine. It’s a chance to get some people — who may be developing — that can maybe come on and contribute. In both races – the women’s and men’s races – we have some kids in that open race that we feel will give us some added depth going forward into the championship part of our season,” he said. “From the women’s side, Anna Fisher is somebody that continues to impress as a walk-on freshman. She’s someone that can impact our top-seven in emergency situations and maybe even be in our top-five.”

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