Oct. 14, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame’s nationally ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to the campus of Indiana State University to take part in the pre-NCAA championships this Saturday, Oct. 16. Several of the nation’s top teams are looking to see where they stack up against each other at the site of the 2004 NCAA championship to be held Monday, Nov. 22. The sixth-ranked Irish women take to the course at 11:35 a.m., while the No. 9 men hit the path at 12:50 p.m. This meet provides a great opportunity for runners to earn at-large points, which are critical for qualifying for the NCAAs if they do not place as an automatic qualifier.
The Teams: On the women’s side, 23 of the teams are ranked in the top-30 of the latest FinishLynx.com poll, including eight in the top-10. Joining Notre Dame in the top-10 are the No. 1 ranked Stanford Cardinal, Michigan (3), Colorado (4), Arizona State (7), North Carolina (8), Tennessee (9), and Missouri (10). Fellow BIG EAST members, Villanova (12) and Georgetown (28), will also take to the course alongside the Irish.
The men’s field features 24 of the top-30 in the latest MONDO poll and as was the case with the women, eight of the top-10 will be on hand. Stanford (2), Iona (4), Michigan (5), Colorado (6), Georgetown (7), North Carolina State (8), and Butler (10) join the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish in what ought to be a highly competitive race. Villanova also cracked the ranks in the men’s poll at 12th.
The Lineups: The Notre Dame women will be running at full-strength for the first time all season. Junior Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Notre Dame) headlines a group of runners that includes senior Lauren King (Toronto, Ontario/Lawrence Park Coll. Inst.), who is running her first race of the 2004 campaign. Huddle placed tenth at the 2003 pre-nationals and King collected a top-20 finish, as she placed 19th. Senior Kerry Meagher (Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) looks to repeat her success of a season ago when she finished 12th overall for the Irish, who placed third out of 32 teams. Stephanie Madia (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny), a winner earlier this year at the National Catholic Invitational, freshman Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio/Minster), junior Jean Marinangeli (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove), and junior Elizabeth Webster (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) round out the runners for Notre Dame.
Junior Tim Moore (Novi, Mich./Novi) was the top-Irish men’s finisher at the pre-nationals in 2003 with a 15th-place showing. Moore will be joined by sophomore Kurt Benninger (Chepstow, Ontario/Walkerton D.S.S.), who is coming off a second-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational, junior Kaleb Van Ort (Waterloo, Ind./Dekalb), senior Sean O’Donnell (Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst), junior Vincent Ambrico (Alamonte Springs, Fla./Choate Rosemary Hall), freshman Jake Watson (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area), and senior Ryan Johnson (Auburn, Ind./Auburn). Moore, Watson, Ambrico, and Johnson all registered top-10 finishes at the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 17. Notre Dame placed ninth out of 35 teams at last year’s pre-nationals.
Last Time Out: The Irish men placed second out of 24 teams at the 49th Annual Notre Dame Invitational on October 1. Moore, who placed 13th, and Van Ort, the 14th-place finisher, joined Benninger in the top-20 for the Fighting Irish. Stanford swept both the men’s and women’s races.
Huddle was second and Meagher was close behind in fifth for the Irish women, who were third out of the 24-team field at the Notre Dame Invitational.
To follow both Irish cross country squads during the 2004 campaign please log on to www.und.com or call the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
2004 Pre-Nationals Invitational Race Schedule:
Saturday, October 16, 2004 Women’s Blue Race: 11:00 a.m., Women’s White Race: 11:35 a.m., Men’s Blue Race: 12:10 p.m., Men’s White Race: 12:50 p.m., Women’s Open Race: 1:30 p.m., Men’s Open Race: 2:05 p.m.
— ND –