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Irish Lean On Experience At Joe Piane Invitational

Sept. 29, 2017

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By Matthew D’Alonzo

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams put on constructive performances Friday at Notre Dame’s Burke Golf Course in an extremely competitive field at the Joe Piane Invitational.

The Fighting Irish placed 13th in the women’s headliner, scoring 309 points in the women’s blue 5,000m. The Notre Dame women were led in the field by junior Annie Heffernan, who placed 24th with a time of 16:50.5. Following closely behind, freshman Anna Sophia Keller battled to reach 43rd place with a time of 17:12.5.

In the men’s blue race (5 miles), the Fighting Irish placed 17th overall with a score of 433 points. The men’s team was spearheaded by senior Kevin Pulliam, whose time of 24:44.3 was enough to earn 64th place. Freshman Yared Nuguse was Notre Dame’s second male finisher, securing 70th place with a time of 24:52.8.

Seven Irish women and three men also competed in the open races, with freshman Erin Sullivan leading the women with a fourth-place finish (18:16.6) and freshman Brian Griffith placing 10th (25:50.3) for the men.

Irish Associate Head Coach Matt Sparks Said…

On Pulliam and Heffernan’s standout performances…
“On the men’s side, Kevin Pulliam, the senior captain that he is, he really stepped up and ran well. And Annie Heffernan is still running well for us on the women’s side, leading the way.”

On the women’s team performance…
“One of the challenges with our women’s team is our lack of depth, and when we had our number three runner not finish, then we had to fall back on some reserves that we don’t normally have to count on. So we basically need the people who are capable of finishing and are fit to run in their spots.”

On the men’s team performance…
“The pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together; we just need them to come together as the season progresses. We were a little bit better this week, but we need some of the younger freshman, who had a big experience today, to learn from it and grow and be better two weeks from now.”

Up Next

Both the men’s and women’s teams will take a weekend off from competition before returning to the course in two weeks. The women’s team will next compete in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Nuttycombe Invite on Oct. 13th, while the men’s team will compete at Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, on Oc.t 14th.

Irish Finishers

Women’s Blue Race Team Results
1. Colorado 47
2. New Mexico 51
3. NC State 118
13. Notre Dame 309

Women’s Blue Race Individual Results (5,000m):
24. Annie Heffernan (16:50.5)
43. Anna Sophia Keller (17:12.5)
63. Rachel DaDamio (17:36.5)
93. Kaitlin Frei (17:54.1)
97. Claudia Magnussen (17:55.8)

Men’s Blue Race Team Results
1. Southern Utah 72
2. Colorado 101
3. Air Force 154
17. Notre Dame 433

Men’s Blue Race Individual Results (5 miles):
64. Kevin Pulliam (24:44.3)
70. Yared Nuguse (24:52.8)
96. Tyler Keslin (25:08.2)
110. Vincent Zona (25:17.9)
117. Bradley Wattleworth (25:27.5)
141. Andrew Alexander (25:57.2)

Women’s Open Race (5,000m):
4. Erin Sullivan (18:16.6)
7. Kelly Hart (18:18.8)
11. Emily Franz (18:38.6)
15. Alexis Daugherty (18:56.9)
20. Samantha Murray (19:12.0)
22. Brooke Trossen (19:15.0)
27. Madison Ronzone (19:31.7)

Men’s Open Race (5 miles):
10. Brian Griffith (25:50.3)
11. John Flannery (26:01.8)
17. Dustin Macuiba (26:35.7)


Matthew D’Alonzo is a junior student assistant for Fighting Irish Media, working with Athletics Communications Directors for Cross Country, Track and Field, Basketball, and Tennis. A Computer Engineering/Music Theory Major, Matthew is from Mobile, Alabama.