BOSTON, Mass. — It was a beautiful morning in Boston for the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Championships as the Irish raced for a chance at their 22nd conference title in Cross Country/Track and Field program history. The men, led by three top-10 finishes, claimed their first ACC cross country conference title in program history. The women finished just shy of the 2018 title, falling to NC State, who have now won the conference championship in three-straight seasons. The Wolfpack narrowly escaped the Irish pressure, as they posted 67 points to Notre Dame’s 68.
“What an amazing day for both teams,” Hatherly-Piane Head Coach Matt Sparks said of the teams’ first and second place finishes at the 2018 ACC Championships. “The men have come so far in one year. Coach Carlson has truly created a culture of winners.”
Toeing off as the thermostat pushed 35 degrees, the women competed in the 6K race through Franklin Park in Boston. Anna Rohrer led the team from start to finish and was the head of the pack through the first two splits. She crossed the line in 20:19.2 for a third place overall finish. Two other Irish runners finished in the top-10 as Rachel DaDamio placed 6th in 20:33.8 and Jackie Gaughan made her conference action debut, taking seventh overall with a time of 20:38.1. Senior Jessica Harris rounded out the top-15 of ACC competitors, placing 14th in 20:49. Also scoring for the Irish was Annasophia Keller who finished the 6K race in 21:26.3 for 38th overall.
Claudia Magnussen, Sydney Foreman, Anna Fischer and Erin Sullivan all completed the 6K for the Irish in the team’s sixth appearance at the ACC Championships.
“The women ran well but came up one point short of making it a double-win. Our top-four women ran especially well today,” Sparks added.
Chasing down their first title in history, the Irish men were led most of the way by freshman Danny Kilrea and sophomore Andrew Alexander. Through the first split, at the 1,500 meter mark, the two were tied for first, recording a time of 4:17. Yared Nuguse and Anthony Williams caught up to the pair by the second split, as Nuguse, Williams and Kilrea tied for first at the marker. Alexander was just one second behind, crossing the halfway point in 9:19.
In the end, the Irish had three finish in the top-10 and all eight participants cross the finish line in the top-50. Nuguse finished on top for the Irish and third overall with an 8K time of 23:48.8. Just a few seconds back, Williams crossed in sixth place, finishing with a time of 23:53.7. Danny Kilrea (10th, 23:57.6), Andrew Alexander (16th, 24:07.6) and Kevin Salvano (22nd, 24:18.5) finished the scoring for the Irish, leading them to 57 points and a first place finish.
This is about the men on this team,” assistant coach Sean Carlson said. “This group is the true definition of a team. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and the work we’ve done together.”
Bradley Wattleworth, Kevin Pulliam and Tyler Keslin also competed and finished in the top-50 in this morning’s race.
“I also want to thank Coach Sparks and Claire Leatherwood Slebonick for believing in me to coach the men,” Carlson added. “2 years and 3 months ago I started with the men. We were 10th place at this meet and they’ve given me and the men’s program constant support over the last 3 years as we were building this.”
Earning honors for a sixth place finish in her first ACC Championship, Jackie Gaughan was named ACC Freshman of the Year.
Both squads had four members named to the ACC All-Conference team. In the women’s contest, Anna Rohrer, Rachel DaDamio, Jackie Gaughan and Jessica Harris earned the honors while Yared Nuguse, Anthony Williams, Danny Kilrea and Andrew Alexander were named to the men’s team. The four Irish women were the most to earn honors of any team in the 6K race.
Anna Rohrer – 3rd, 20:19.2
Rachel DaDamio – 6th, 20:33.8
Jackie Gaughan – 7th, 20:38.1
Jessica Harris – 14th, 20:49
Annasophia Keller – 38th, 21:26.3
Claudia Magnussen – 43rd, 21:30.2
Sydney Foreman – 59th, 21:52.6
Anna Fischer – 104th, 22:32
Erin Sullivan – 117th, 22:56.4
Yared Nuguse – 3rd, 23:48.8
Anthony Williams – 6th, 23:53.7
Danny Kilrea – 10th, 23:57.6
Andrew Alexander – 16th, 24:07.6
Kevin Salvano – 22nd, 24:18.5
Bradley Wattleworth – 46th, 24:42.8
Kevin Pulliam – 49th, 24:45.7
Tyler Keslin – 50th, 24:46.4
Up Next For The Irish
The Irish prepare for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet on November 9th. Through week five, the men sit in second while the women rank fifth. After starting the season ranked sixth in the region in the pre-season polls, the men have continuously moved up the rankings to their current second place standing. The women have held the fifth place spot throughout the course of the 2018 season.
The teams are also both nationally ranked for the first time since 2012. Following their last outing at the Pre-Nationals Invitational, the men moved into the rankings, jumping to 15th for their first appearance in the USFTCCCA National Coaches’ Poll for the first time in six years. The women currently sit 18th in the nation, having jumped from 22nd two weeks ago.