Sept. 21, 2016
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” The University of Notre Dame’s cross country program named four runners team captains for the 2016 campaign. Graduate students Danielle Aragon and Sydni Meunier and seniors Jake Dumford and Chris Marco have earned the responsibility of leading their respective teams and sharing their combined 14 years of college experience.
Aragon, who sat out the 2015 cross country season with a stress fracture in her foot, is having a bounceback season. She has competed in two meets thus far, including a second-place individual finish in the National Catholic 5K (17:24.3) on September 16.
“Being a fifth-year senior, I know and immensely love every girl on the team. I truly believe that any success I have had has come from my relationships with teammates,” Aragon said. “To be able to represent them and Notre Dame cross country means a lot to me.
“I hope I can get everyone to realize how valuable they are and how much they can bring to the team. Personally, I think we can compete with anyone. For us to do that, everybody has to be in the right mindset, confident and healthy. I want to lead my teammates to push each other, be dependable and seek to make each other better everyday.”
Meunier (Gibson City Melvin-Sibley/Melvin, Illinois) also sat out the 2015 cross country season but decided to postpone her plans of working in the medical field to return for a fifth year. Meunier’s 13th-place finish in the 3,000m at the ACC Indoor Championships (9:33.29) highlighted her junior year.
Associate head coach Matt Sparks spoke of the captains’ experience.
“I think it speaks volumes for the passion these women have for our program that they returned upon finishing their undergraduate degrees to lead the cross country program,” Sparks said.
Dumford (Westerville North/Westerville, Ohio) enters his fourth season with the Irish men’s squad. Dumford was named to the 2015 All-ACC Cross Country Academic Team and finished fifth in the one-mile race (4:03.41) at the ACC Indoor Championships last season.
Marco (Toms River South/Toms River, New Jersey) was also selected to the 2015 All-ACC Cross Country Academic Team. He owns a PR of 4:03 in the one-mile race.
Marco said he leads best by example.
“Talk is cheap; day-to-day actions are much more powerful in gaining the respect of the guys and having everyone buy into what we’re striving to accomplish,” he said. “To be named team captain just reassures me that I’m doing my job as a senior to instill in these young guys the experience I’ve gained over the last four years.
“My goal is that they’ll take what I’ve taught and showed them and bring Notre Dame men’s cross country back to being competitive on the national scene.”
The Fighting Irish return to action in the Joe Piane/Notre Dame Invitational at 2 p.m. ET on September 30 at Burke Golf Course.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse, cross country/track and field and women’s basketball programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.