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Cross Country Set To Test Themselves Against The Best At Pre-National Meet

Oct. 16, 2003

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams take their annual trek to the 2003 Pre-National Meet – this season in Waterloo, Iowa – on Saturday, Oct. 18. The Notre Dame women enter the competition ranked fifth in the nation, while the men are currently 15th. The races will be held at the Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course/Byrnes Park and hosted by the University of Northern Iowa.

Both teams hope to strengthen their at-large positions in the NCAA Championship – should they not finish in the top two at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 15. The top two teams in each regional are assured spots in the NCAA Championship (Nov. 24).

Meet Schedule:

Men’s Gold Race: 11:40 a.m.

Women’s Purple Race: 12:20 p.m.

Men’s Open Race: 1:35 p.m.

Women’s Open Race: 2:15 p.m.

The Pre-National Meet field:

There will be 43 nationally ranked teams on both the men’s and women’s side this weekend. The Notre Dame women will be running in the Purple Race, while the men have been designated for the Gold Race.

Women’s Purple Race line up –

Air Force, Arizona, Baylor, Boston College, #1 BYU, Butler, California, Campbell University, Duke, Western Illinois, #8 Georgetown, Georgia, Illinois State, Indiana, Iowa, LaSalle, Loyola, #22 Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Northern Iowa, #25 Nebraska, North Carolina, #16 Northern Arizona, #5 NOTRE DAME, #23 Princeton, Texas, #30 Toledo, UCSB, Valparaiso, Virginia, Washington State, #24 William & Mary, Yale.

Men’s Gold Race line up –

#19 Arizona, Bucknell, #26 Butler, California, #5 Colorado, Dartmouth, #31 Eastern Michigan, Florida, #14 Georgetown, #20 Georgia, Harvard, Illinois State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kent State, Kentucky, LaSalle, Montana State, #21 North Carolina State, #3 Northern Arizona, #15 NOTRE DAME, #11 Ohio State, #7 Oregon, SW Missouri State, Texas, UCSB, Northern Iowa, Utah State, Western Illinois, Wake Forest, #29 Washington State, Weber State, #22 William & Mary, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Yale.

The Irish women will get a chance to take on the preseason favorite for the national title, #1 BYU – as well as face BIG EAST Conference foe Georgetown and Great Lakes Regional members Michigan and Toledo.

The Irish men will hook up with several highly-ranked teams, including #5 Colorado, #3 Northern Arizona and #7 Oregon. Notre Dame also will face BIG EAST Conference opponent Georgetown and Great Lakes Regional members Butler, Eastern Michigan and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Notre Dame Line Ups:

Here is a preliminary line up for both the Notre Dame men’s and women’s teams for this weekend’s Pre-National Meet (subject to change):

#5 Notre Dame women – The Irish women have been ranked as high as third this season and claimed team victories at the Valparaiso Invitational, National Catholic and Notre Dame Invitational in 2003. Notre Dame will be close to full strength for the Pre-National Meet, but will still be without the services of sophomore Loryn King (expected to return for the Great Lakes Regional meet).

Sophomore Molly Huddle – Huddle burst on the national cross country scene last season with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championship as a freshman. She led Notre Dame to a third-place finish, the best in school history. Huddle has appeared just once this season, easily winning the Notre Dame Invitational individual title on Oct. 3. Huddle also has a USATF Junior 3,000-meter title to her credit as well, winning the race during the summer of 2003.

Junior Lauren King – King combines with Huddle to give Notre Dame two of the top harriers in the country. After finishing 19th overall at the 2002 NCAA Championship, King continued on to a stellar track and field season as well. The 2003 BIG EAST Championship individual champion, King has raced just once this season as well, finishing second behind Huddle at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Senior Megan Johnson – Head coach Tim Connelly is excited to have Johnson back at full strength in his line up. Forced to miss most of last season with an injury, Johnson was among the top four in Notre Dame’s line up since she arrived on campus in 2000. With one race under her belt (21st, Notre Dame Invitational) Johnson will get a chance to measure herself on the eventual National Championship course.

Sophomore Stephanie Madia – Madia will see her first action of the 2003 season this weekend at the Pre-National Meet. She enjoyed a solid rookie season in ’02, finishing 31st at the BIG EAST Championship, 25th at the Great Lakes Regional and 76th at the NCAA Championship.

Junior Kerry Meagher – Meagher has developed into a force on the cross country course, after not competing much during her previous two seasons. Meagher won the ’03 National Catholic individual title, a dramatic improvement after winning the JV race in the same meet the prior season. She followed up her National Catholic victory with a seventh-place effort in the Notre Dame Invitational. Saturday will be Meagher’s first appearance in the Pre-National Meet.

Sophomore Jean Marinangeli – Marinangeli started off the season with an individual victory at the Valparaiso Invitational, claiming her first collegiate title. She then finished fourth at the National Catholic and 42nd in the Notre Dame Invitational. Marinangeli took 18th in the Pre-National Open Race last season, then finished 56th at the BIG EAST Championship.

Senior Katie Wales – Wales has been consistently among Notre Dame’s top seven over the last two seasons. She ran as a member of Notre Dame’s third-place NCAA team last year (225th) and finished 93rd in the ’02 Pre-National Meet. Wales has competed twice this season, finishing seventh at the National Catholic and 49th in the Notre Dame Invitational.

Other competitors making the trip for Notre Dame and who will appear in the Open Race (2:15 p.m.) include Christy Arnerich, Katie DeRusso, Amy Kohlmeier, Jenny Walls and Elizabeth Webster.

#15 Notre Dame men – This is the meet where Notre Dame can assess its progress toward its ultimate goal: a top-10 finish at the NCAA Championship. The Irish have run at full strength just once this season, winning the Notre Dame Invitational with 76 team points. Notre Dame also won the 2003 National Catholic team title.

Sophomore Tim Moore – Moore earned a spot on the U.S. Junior Cross Country team last fall and looks to establish himself as a candidate for All-America honors in this weekend’s race. Moore is coming off a third-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational (his first action of the season) and a 63rd-place showing at the 2002 NCAA Championship. He also earned all-BIG EAST honors at least season’s conference meet, finishing 14th.

Senior Todd Mobley – Mobley was on his way to All-America honors last season, claiming individual titles at the adidas Invitational and National Catholic as well as finishing third in a highly-competitive Notre Dame Invitational. Mobley was injured in last season’s Pre-National meet, however, and although he returned to compete in the Great Lakes Regional (26th) and the NCAA Championship (80th) he was not at 100%. This season, Mobley is fully recovered and ready to assume his expected spot from 2002. He has competed once this season, easing into 15th place at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Freshman Kurt Benninger – Benninger hopes to follow in the footsteps of Tim Moore (’02), Todd Mobley (’00) and John Keane (’99) – freshman who made key contributions during their rookie season. Benninger started out his collegiate career strong at the Notre Dame Invitational, finishing second on the team in 12th place.

Junior Sean O’Donnell – O’Donnell has worked hard at developing into one of Notre Dame’s top five over the last two seasons. He ran at last season’s Pre-National Meet, finishing 103rd. This season, O’Donnell has posted a third-place finish at the National Catholic and was 20th at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Sophomore Kaleb Van Ort – Van Ort is hoping to carry over a strong start, for the second-straight year, into post-season success in 2003. After starting out strong in 2002 (8th Valparaiso Invitational, 8th National Catholic), Van Ort fell off at the Notre Dame Invitational (84th) only to recover for a solid 49th-place effort at the BIG EAST Championship. In 2003, Van Ort has ran strong in his two races, finishing third at the National Catholic and 20th (third on the team) at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Senior Brian Kerwin – A veteran of national-level races, Kerwin is among the most experienced harriers on the Irish roster. After finishing 19th in the 2002 Pre-National Meet, he took 41st at the BIG EAST Championship and 72nd at the Great Lakes Regional. He also competed at the NCAA Championship, finishing 223rd. Kerwin has delivered three strong efforts so far in 2003, finishing second at the Valparaiso Invitational, seventh at the National Catholic and 36th at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Senior David Alber – This Saturday will mark Alber’s third Pre-National Meet of his career at Notre Dame. He finished 34th last season and eventually posted a solid 151st finish at the NCAA Championship. Alber, much like his classmates Mobley and Kerwin, is very experienced in national-level races – appearing in three straight BIG EAST Championships (finishing 20th in 2001).

Other competitors making the trip for Notre Dame and who will appear in the Open Race (1:35 p.m.) – Vinnie Ambrico, Ryan Johnson, Terry Lennon, Eric Morrison and Kevin Somok.


Full results, when available, will be posted on You can also check out the official website of Northern Iowa at