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ND Cross Country

Notre Dame successful at NCAA Championship

| Monday, November 19, 2018

The Notre Dame men and women competed in the NCAA championship meets over the weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.

It was the first time since 2013 that both the Irish men’s and women’s teams qualified for a chance at the championship. The women ended up placing eighth overall while the men came in 14th overall. The women’s performance is one of six times in program history that the women have placed in the top 10, while the men delivered their best performance since 2005 — when they took third at nationals.

Emma Farnan | The Observer
Irish freshman Jacqueline Gaughan, 319, and senior Annie Heffernan, 320, lead the pack during Notre Dame’s National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 15 at Burke Golf Course.

Both teams progressed significantly since the beginning of the year. The women started off the year ranked 23rd in the national coaches poll and rose to 16th over the course of the season. The men entered the season unranked, but quickly made their way into the rankings and didn’t look back, entering the championship 10th in the nation.

On the course, the women were led by All-American senior Anna Rohrer with a time of 20:02.8 and graduate student Jessica Harris at 20:32.9 in the 6K. Rohrer finished 10th overall in the race, while Harris finished 37th overall. Freshman Jackie Gaughan finished third for the Irish at 20:47.8 while senior Rachel DaDamio followed with a time of 20:58.7. Senior Sydney Foreman rounded out the top five at 21:45.6. Irish head coach Matt Sparks said he was proud of the women’s team and the efforts of several key individuals.

“We had really solid performances from our top five this meet, our senior Anna Rohrer really pushed herself and stepped up like a veteran … it was great to see, as did Harris,” he said. “It was great to see Sydney contribute in such a big way today, she has come through a lot in her time here and it’s good to see that effort rewarded.”

All-American freshman Danny Kilrea led the Irish men’s team, crossing the line at 29:55.2 in the 10K. Kilrea was the first freshman to finish the race, coming in at 33rd overall. Sophomore Yared Nuguse followed at 30:13.6, and senior Anthony Williams came in third for the Irish with a time of 30:35.8. Junior Tyler Keslin finished fourth while sophomore Andrew Alexander crossed the finish line close behind to round out the top five. Sparks complimented the leadership the men’s team received this year and the improvement the Irish showed.

“We progressed a lot through the season on the men’s side … in our aggressiveness and our toughness,” Sparks said.  “ … They should be proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

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