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Irish Cross Country Begins 1999 Season

Sept. 8, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams begin the 1999 season at the Valparaiso Invitational this weekend.

Participating in the Valparaiso Invitational are Western Michigan (men only), Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marquette, Purdue (men only), IUPUI, Chicago State (women only), Danville Junior College (men only), Kendall College (men only) and Augustana (women only).

1998 RECAP: The Irish has a solid season last year competing against some of the top programs in the nation. Both teams started off the season strong by sweeping the Wolf & Kettle Invitational. Ryan Shay (Central Lake, Mich.) placed second with a time of 25:56 and JoAnna Deeter (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) took first place with a time of 18:54.

The next meet was the annual National Catholic Meet held on the Notre Dame campus. Both team took home the meet title again. The men were once again led by Shay, who finished first with a time of 23:46. Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn.), participating in his first home meet, finished fourth in a time of 24:24. Deeter continued her dominance in the National Catholic, finishing first and winning the meet for the third year in a row.

The Notre Dame Invitational was next for the Irish, but they had trouble defending their home turf this time. The men finished just behind highly ranked North Carolina State and the women took fifth place. Shay and Deeter again led the Irish, finishing second and first.

The men traveled to Lawrence, Kan. on October 10 to compete in a pre-national meet, where they ended up finishing 12 out of the 32 teams in the highly competitive field. Shay was the highest Notre Dame finisher in 17th place.

Deeter earned her fourth-straight win at the Wolverine Interregional on October 18 to help the women finish eighth out of 15 teams.

Both teams would travel to the BIG EAST Championships in Boston, Mass., on October 30. The men were unable to defend their 1997 BIG EAST title and finished 3rd, while the women finished 5th. Shay and Watson earned all-BIG EAST honors for their sixth and seventh-place finishes. Deeter also earned an all-BIG EAST with her third-place finish.

The Great Lakes Region District IV meet was next for both teams as they looked to earn a NCAA berth. Both team barely missed an invitation, the men finishing eighth and the women in fourth place. Shay finished 10th in the men’s field, while Deeter took second to eventual NCAA champion Katie McGregor of Michigan, both would earn individual invitations to the NCAA Championships. Deeter made the most of her spot in the NCAA field, finishing 14th, just 33 second behind first place and earning All-American status. Shay finished 229th with a time of 34:16.80.

1999 Outlook: The women are in the best shape to improve from the 1998 season. Senior All-American Deeter will be a favorite in every meet and should contend for the NCAA title. Senior Alison Klemmer (Troy, Mich.) comes off a 22nd place finish in the District IV Championship last year and is a two-time All-American in the 10,000 meter for the Irish track team. Senior Erin Luby (Inverness, Ill.) is one of the team captains and has two top 25 finishes in 1998. Patty Rice (Mishawaka, Ind.) also is one of the top runners returning. Rice had back-to-back 27th place finishes in the BIG EAST and district championships last year. Freshman Jennifer Handley (Barrie, Ont.) should make an immediate impact on the Irish roster. Handley qualified for the World Junior Cross Country Championships in 1999, 1996 and 1995. She also was fourth last season at the Canadian Junior Cross Country Championships.

The men will once again be led by junior Shay. Shay finished in the top two in the first three races last year and earned a NCAA invitation with a 10th place finish at the district championship. Sophomore Watson should continue his improvement from 1998. Watson finished seventh in the BIG EAST Championships last year and had an impressive off-season. Watson won the 1999 USA Junior Winter Cross Country National Championship, edging out second-place finisher Steve Slattery of the University of Colorado by two seconds. That win enabled Watson to enter the 1999 World Junior Cross Country Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he finished 34th out of 155 runners and was the third American to cross the finish line, helping the U.S. team to a sixth-place finish. Senior Ryan Maxwell (Staten Island, N.Y.) returns for a fifth year in 1999. Maxwell finished fourth in the Wolf & Kettle Invitational last year and seventh at the National Catholic meet. Freshman Antonio Lopez (Albuquerque, N.M.) will provide the Irish with some youthful depth. Lopez was a three-time event winner at the 1999 New Mexico state track meet and third in the state cross country meet.

SEPTEMBER11   Valparaiso Invitational         10/11:00 a.m. (Valparaiso, IN)17   National Catholic Invitational  2:15, 3:30, 4:15, 5:00 p.m.       OCTOBER1    Notre Dame Invitational         2:45, 3:30, 4:15, 5:00 p.m.15   Central Collegiates             4:00 p.m. (Ypsilanti, MI)16   Pre-National Championships      10:00 a.m. (Bloomington, IN)29   BIG EAST Championship.          10:00 a.m. (Bronx, NY)
NOVEMBER13 NCAA Great Lakes Region 10:30 a.m. (Terre Haute, IN) 22 NCAA Championships 10:30 a.m. (Bloomington, IN)

All times local to site.

FinishLynx 1999 Women’s Preseason Top 25 Cross Country Poll

1. Brigham Young – 299 points
2. Stanford – 289
3. Arkansas – 265
4. Villanova – 255
5. Colorado – 236
6. Wisconsion – 234
7. Georgetown – 219
8. Washington – 210
9. North Carolina St. – 204
10. Providence – 189
11. Michigan – 170
12. Kansas State – 165
13. Baylor – 157
14. William & Mary – 154
15. Northern Arizona – 129
16. Arizona State – 109
17. Boston College – 96
18. Missouri – 77
19. North Carolina – 76
20. UCLA – 61
21. Weber State – 53
22. Notre Dame – 51
23. Minnesota – 37
24. Florida – 35
25. Colorado State – 28