Sophomore Kurt Benninger placed third at the Great Lakes Regional on Saturday to help his squad into the NCAA Championships.

Irish Cross Country Teams Place Second At Great Lakes Regional

Nov. 13, 2004

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams ran their way into the NCAA Championships by capturing second place finishes at the Great Lakes Regional on Saturday afternoon at the Eagle Crest Golf Course. Wisconsin, the No. 1-ranked men’s team, topped the Irish by 35 points, while Michigan (#4) took the women’s title by 39 points over Notre Dame. Six Irish runners had top-10 finishes including sophomore Kurt Benninger (Chepstow, Ontario/Walkerton D.S.S.), who placed third, and junior Stephanie Madia (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny), the fourth-place runner in the women’s race.

This marked the fourth straight year that the Notre Dame women have captured a top-two finish and an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Freshman Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio/Minster) and senior Kerry Meagher (Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) joined Madia in the top-10 for the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish. Olding clocked in a time of 20:15 to finish sixth and Meagher finished ninth in a time of 20:22. Also scoring for the Irish were senior Lauren King (Toronto, Ontario/Lawrence Park Coll. Inst.) (24) and junior Jean Marinangeli (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) (36) in times of 21:02 and 21:13, respectively.

Sophomore Katie DeRusso (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport) placed 50th as she crossed the line in a time of 21:28 and senior Maggie Nelsen (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall/Kirkwood) was five spots back at 21:33. The Irish, who placed 10th at the national meet a year ago, were running without one of their top runners as junior Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Elmira) sat out to rest a sore foot.

The Irish men, ranked fifth in the nation, will be making their 14th trip to the NCAA Championships in the last 15 years as all four scorers placed in the top-50. Juniors Kaleb Van Ort (Waterloo, Ind./Dekalb) and Tim Moore (Novi, Mich./Novi) continued to have solid seasons as they placed eighth and ninth, respectively, in the same time of 30:25. Senior Sean O’Donnell (Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst) clocked in a 19th-place time of 30:35 and junior Vincent Ambrico (Alamonte Springs, Fla./Choate Rosemary Hall) was 43rd at 31:22.

Notre Dame did not compete at nationals in 2003 but they left no doubt about this year’s fate as they locked up an automatic bid. Senior Ryan Johnson (Auburn, Ind./Auburn) was 56th by finishing in 31:43 and junior AJ Andrassy (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) was 59th at 31:45 to round out the field for the NCAA-bound Irish.

Both Irish squads will now prepare for their trip to the national meet in Terre Haute, Ind. on Monday, Nov. 22. The race will be run at the Lavern Gibson Cross Country Course, which held the pre-national race back on Oct. 16. The Notre Dame men and women were both second in that competition as well.

For full results of today’s races log on to Continue to follow the Irish throughout the 2004-05 season by logging onto or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.

2004 Great Lakes Cross Country Regional (11/13/04- Eagle Crest G.C.- Ypsilanti, Mich.)

MEN’S TOP-5 TEAM RESULTS: 1. Wisconsin 47, 2. Notre Dame 82, 3. Butler 102, 4. Michigan 111, 5. Indiana 116.

TOP-5 MEN PLUS NOTRE DAME FINISHERS: 1. Nate Brennen (Michigan) 30:10, 2. Sean Jefferson (Indiana) 30:14, 3. Kurt Benninger (Notre Dame) 30:17, 4. Brian Olinger (Ohio State) 30:18, 5. John Jefferson (Indiana) 30:24, Notre Dame: 8. Kaleb Van Ort 30:25, 9. Tim Moore 30:25, 19. Sean O’Donnell 30:35, 43. Vincent Ambrico 31:22, 56. Ryan Johnson 31:43, 59. AJ Andrassy 31:45.

WOMEN’S TOP-5 TEAM RESULTS: 1. Michigan 40, 2. Notre Dame 79, 3. Michigan State 85, 4. Indiana 148, 5. Marquette 166.

TOP-5 WOMEN PLUS NOTRE DAME FINISHERS: 1. Rebecca Walter (Michigan) 20:01, 2. Danette Doetzel (Michigan State) 20:02, 3. Alyson Kohlmeier (Michigan) 20:05, 4. Stephanie Madia (Notre Dame) 20:10, 5. Caitlin Kelly (Michigan State) 20:14, Notre Dame: 6. Sunni Olding 20:15, 9. Kerry Meagher 20:22, 24. Lauren King 21:02, 36. Jean Marinangeli 21:13, 50. Katie DeRusso 21:28, 55. Maggie Nelsen 21:33.

— ND –