Sept. 18, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the first time this season, the rumbling of packs of cross country runners will be heard on campus, as the University of Notre Dame is set to host the 35th National Catholic Championships this Friday at the picturesque nine-hole Notre Dame Golf Course.
The festivities begin with a JV race open to both men and women at 3:30 p.m. (ET), followed by the women’s 5K championship at 4:15 p.m. (ET). The men’s five-mile championship at 5 p.m. (ET) will cap the event.
The event is a part of the fabric of the Notre Dame cross country program, as it has been run annually since 1980, and is the creation of former head coach Joe Piane.
Friday’s meet marks the first of two meets Notre Dame will host this season, with the elite Notre Dame Invitational slated for Oct. 3.
Associate head coach Matt Sparks didn’t downplay the significance of his squad running on its own turf, either.
“You get to sleep in your own bed,” Sparks said. “You walk out of your dorm and you’re out on the course two minutes later. It’s a peaceful feeling to know that you’ve got the home field advantage.”
Both the Irish men’s and women’s squad have experienced ample amounts of success in the National Catholic Championships, with the men claiming 11 consecutive team championships between 1995-2004, and also the last five races, while the women have won 20 of the past 22 team crowns. The Notre Dame women have also boasted the individual champion in every year since 2003.
Notre Dame experienced similar success in last season’s race, as the men and women combined for 11 top-10 finishes.
The men earned a first place team finish last season, with returning runners Jake Kildoo (25:05.4) and Michael Clevenger (25:05.4) leading the way, while the women will be led by 2013 championship stalwarts Emily Frydrych (17:34.4), Molly Seidel (17:45.1) and Danielle Aragon (17:45.5).
Sparks said he and his team are intent upon continuing that tradition of success.
“It’s an important meet on our schedule,” Sparks said. “Any time we host an event or invitational, we want to try and come out with a win, and we’re going to continue to work towards that chance at this year’s meet.”
For extensive coverage of Friday’s races, be sure to follow the team Twitter (@NDXCTF), Instagram (NDXCTF) and Facebook accounts (Facebook.com/NDXCTF).
NOTRE DAME MEN’S RUNNERS
NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S RUNNERS
–Connor Killoren, Media Relations Student Assistant