Oct. 27, 2004
South Bend, Ind. – Notre Dame’s nationally-ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams take to the course this Friday in hopes of capturing more BIG EAST hardware and keep their momentum going as the season approaches its final few weeks. The 2004 BIG EAST Cross Country Championship will take place at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. with the men racing at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) and the women at 11:50 a.m.
BIG EAST FIELD: The Fighting Irish women, currently ranked sixth nationally, are the two-time defending BIG EAST Champions and they will have a tough time in trying to make it three in-a-row. “Providence is a great team and Villanova is a good team too,” stated Notre Dame women’s head coach Tim Connelly. “We are definitely going in there as an underdog.” Providence is ranked second in the latest finishlynx.com poll and Villanova is 15th.
The Notre Dame men’s squad enters the race fifth in the nation, their highest mark since the 2001 campaign. They are joined in the top-10 by seventh-ranked Georgetown, while Villanova (18) and Providence (22) also find themselves among the top-30 of the MONDO poll. “Four of the teams are ranked, including us, so there is your competition right there,” said Irish men’s head coach Joe Piane referring to the strength of this year’s field. “We haven’t seen Providence yet this year and they always run well in Boston where as we have never won in Boston.”
NOTRE DAME LINEUP: On the women’s side the Irish will run Jacqueline Carter, Katie DeRusso, Molly Huddle, Lauren King, Stephanie Madia, Jean Marinangeli, Kerry Meagher, Sunni Olding and Elizabeth Webster. “We are more prepared to run now than we’ve been all year,” commented coach Connelly about his team at this point of the season. “We hope that trend will continue for the next month.” Huddle was third a year ago to lead the Irish and Meagher (6), King (14) and Madia (20) joined her in the top-20.
King was the BIG EAST champion in 2002, the last time the meet was held in Boston. The Irish women won the team championship that year for their first-ever BIG EAST crown and followed it up with a victory last season at New York’s Van Cortlandt Park. The Notre Dame men have won the title three times (1997, 1999, 2001) and registered a second-place finish in 2003.
The men will feature Vincent Ambrico, AJ Andrassy, Kurt Benninger, Daniel Curran, Ryan Johnson, Tim Moore, Sean O’Donnell, Kaleb Van Ort and Austin Weaver. “Our kids have really been running well and we appear to be healthy,” stated Piane about his team. Moore, who placed sixth, was the top Irish finisher at last year’s conference meet, while Van Ort was 12th and O’Donnell finished 20th.
SUCCESS AT PRE-NATIONALS: Both Irish squads captured second-place at the pre-NCAA championships on Oct. 16 in Terrre Haute, Ind. at the site of the 2004 NCAAs to be held Monday, Nov. 22. Junior Molly Huddle registered a third-place finish in the women’s blue race and sophomore Kurt Benninger came in eighth in the men’s white race. Stephanie Madia, a junior, finished 11th and junior Kerry Meagher was 16th as they joined their teammate Huddle in the top-20, while junior Tim Moore clocked in at 13th for the men.
RESULTS: Results of both races will be posted on the BIG EAST web site at www.bigeast.org.
NEXT UP FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame will travel to the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Saturday, Nov. 13 in Ypsilanti, Mich. Continue to follow the Irish throughout the 2004-05 season by logging onto www.und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
— ND –