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Irish Finish Sixth, Seventh at ACC Championships

Oct. 27, 2017

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By Megan Golden

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On a sunny, 55-degree day, the University of Notre Dame women’s and men’s cross country teams ran to sixth and seventh place, respectively, at its fifth Atlantic Coast Conference Cross Country Championships on Friday.

Sporting their championship green uniforms with the script “Irish” on the front, the men’s team started the action with its second 8,000m race of the season at Louisville’s E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. Freshman Yared Nuguse recorded a personal record of 24:03.7 (T23rd) in the first ACC meet of his youthful career, leading the men’s squad to a seventh place team finish (206 points). Notre Dame finished 24 points away from sixth-place Wake Forest.

Nuguse, the Kentucky Cross Country State Champion out of Louisville, cut almost 23 seconds off of his previous best mark, which he set on the same course at Pre-Nationals on Oct. 14.

“Yared has grown a lot throughout the season,” Irish assistant coach Sean Carlson said. “He raced very well as one of the top freshman in the ACC.”

Nuguse was followed by senior Kevin Pulliam, who led a pack of Irish runners. Pulliam placed 37th with a time of 24:19.0, and graduate student Bradley Wattleworth (41st, 24:22.5) and freshman Vincent Zona (53rd, 24:38.3) finished alongside the Irish co-captain.

Rounding out the top seven for Notre Dame were freshman Brian Griffith (60th, 24:44.6), graduate student Connor Sheryak (68th, 24:55.6) and freshman Andrew Alexander (72nd, 24:59.7). Alexander’s time of 24:59.7 was a personal record.

“In the past six days, our men have had some adversity with eight of our top 10 getting sick,” Carlson said. “They all did a great job of racing to what we were today and not having any excuses. Overall, the men’s team handled a week of some tough breaks well and came together.

“I am really excited about the future of this team.”

The Notre Dame women ran to sixth place overall, led by junior Annie Heffernan’s 13th-place finish at the 20:28.3 mark. Heffernan led an extremely young Irish squad, which finished nine points behind Wake Forest (fifth) and 41 points behind Syracuse (fourth).

Junior Rachel DaDamio ran to 18th with a time of 20:38.8, recording a personal record in her best performance since the 2015 ACC Championships. Heffernan and DaDamio each finished in the top 21, earning All-ACC accolades.

“Our upperclassmen, Annie and Rachel, really stepped up today,” Irish associate head coach Matt Sparks said. “It was especially nice to see Rachel earn her second All-ACC award after battling injuries last year.”

Freshmen AnnaSophia Keller (21:11.3) and Claudia Magnussen (21:42.0) placed 34th and 54th, respectively. Rounding out the top seven were senior Kaitlin Frei (60th, 21:46.3), junior Kelly Hart (76th, 22:02.4) and freshman Erin Sullivan (96th, 22:33.1).

Both Magnussen and Frei set personal records at the meet.

Irish Finishers

Men’s Team:
T23. Yared Nuguse – 24:03.7
37. Kevin Pulliam – 24:19.0
41. Bradley Wattleworth – 24:22.5
53. Vincent Zona – 24:38.3
60. Brian Griffith – 24:44.6
68. Connor Sheryak – 24:55.6
72. Andrew Alexander – 24:59.7

Women’s Team:
13. Annie Heffernan – 20:28.3
18. Rachel DaDamio – 20:38.8
34. AnnaSophia Keller – 21:11.3
54. Claudia Magnussen – 21:42.0
60. Kaitlin Frei – 21:46.3
76. Kelly Hart – 22:02.4
96. Erin Sullivan – 22:33.1

Coming Up Next

The Irish return to action at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships at noon ET on Friday, Nov. 10 at LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Irish cross country program, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter and @NDXCTF on Instagram.


Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.