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ND Cross Country

Cross country finishes season with stellar performance at nationals

| Monday, November 25, 2019

Both cross country squads finished their seasons with solid performances at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past Saturday, with the women’s team placing 15th and the men finishing in 8th.

Arkansas placed first on the women’s side with 96 points, followed by BYU with 102 points and Stanford in third with 123 points. The Irish had 415 points and finished in front of multiple teams ranked ahead of them, including Ohio State, who placed in front of the Irish at last week’s regional meet.

Grace Aubry | The Observer
Irish runners pack up during their victory at the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 20. From left to right, junior Erin Sullivan, senior Erin Archibeck, sophomore Katie Rose Blachowicz and junior Brooke Trossen.

The top runner on the women’s side was graduate student Anna Rohrer, who completed the 6K race in 20:28.3 and placed 17th. When Rohrer graduated from Mishawaka High School in June 2015 she was one of the most sought-after recruits in the country, with her remarkable high school accolades. She won the Foot Locker National cross country championship in both the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons. She won multiple state titles and additionally broke a number of state records in the distance events in which she competed. With her 17th place finish, Rohrer became the first four-time All American in Notre Dame program history. The meet, which took place at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana, is a course that Rohrer is certainly similar with. She won two state titles in Terre Haute in high school, once in her sophomore season and again in her senior year. The course was a quintessential place for her collegiate career to come to an end.

The other runners on the women’s side included sophomore Maddy Denner, who clocked in at 21:07.7 for an 81st place finish; sophomore Jackie Gaughan, who crossed the line in 21:21.9, good for a 119th place finish; freshman Olivia Markezich, who recorded a time of 21:35.2 for 143rd place; and sophomore Jocelyn Long, who ran the race in 21:52.1 finishing 178th overall. Rounding out the Irish pack were senior Erin Archibeck, who crossed in 22:04.2 at 197th place and junior AnnaSophia Keller, who followed closely behind, recording a time of 22:07.0 in 203rd place.

Although the women’s side will be losing their top runner in Rohrer next year, the team is still very young and will be returning five of their top seven runners. Of those runners, three of them — Denner, Markezich, and Long — competed in their first collegiate cross country season this year. 

On the men’s side, BYU finished first with 109 points, followed by Northern Arizona in second with 163 points, just edging out a strong Colorado team, who came in at third with 164 total points. The Irish finished the meet in eighth with 269 points, finishing ahead of Oregon, Portland, Washington, Ole Miss and Purdue, all of whom were ranked higher than the Irish.

Leading the way for the Irish was sophomore Dylan Jacobs, who placed 29th in the 10K race with a time of 31:12.9. The result for Jacobs, who is competing in his first season of collegiate cross country, was good for All-American accolades.

Other runners for the Irish included junior Yared Nuguse, who came in at 31:28.7 for a 47th place finish; sophomore Danny Kilrea, who finished in 50th place with a time of 31:30.8; junior Andrew Alexander, who crossed the line in 31:38.6 for a 67th place finish; sophomore Matthew Carmody, who came in at 122nd with a time of 32:07.7; and senior Kevin Salvano, who moved up 55 places after the 3K spilt and was able to finish 129th with a time of 32:11.9, while junior Brendan Fraser rounded out the field for the Irish finishing 130th with a time of 32:12.7. 

Kilrea, who recorded his best race of the year last year at the NCAA Championship when he crossed the line in 29:55.2 for a 33rd place finish, has typically been in a pack with the 4-7 runners throughout the year. Kilrea again had a breakout performance on the national stage, although not as good as his performance last season, to help the Irish secure their eighth place result — their best finish since placing third in 2005.

Despite the stellar team performance this year, expectations will likely be even higher for the 2020 squad, as the men will be returning all of their runners in their scoring five.

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