Sept. 13, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Entering in its 28th year, the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams will play host to the National Catholic Cross Country Championship on Friday afternoon. The first of two home meets that the Irish host will be held at the nine-hole Notre Dame Golf Course on the Notre Dame campus. The women will kick off competition with a 5K race at 4:15 p.m. (EDT) with the men to follow in a five-mile contest at 5 p.m. (EDT).
The National Catholic Championship was started by current Notre Dame men’s cross country coach Joe Piane in 1980. The meet was premiered as an event featuring prominent Catholic institutions from throughout the United States, with a women’s race being added in 1984. The annual event has continued from there, with host Notre Dame showing success throughout the competitions tenure. The Notre Dame men have won 18 team tittles in the first 27 years of the meet, including 16 of the past 19 championships, while the Irish women have earned 13 team titles, all in the past 15 years. Notre Dame is the four-time defending women’s champion and defending men’s champion. Notre Dame senior Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio/Minster) is the reigning two-time individual medalist (’05, ’06) while John Riak of Saint Martin’s was the men’s individual crown winner in 2006.
Both the men’s and women’s teams enter into the National Catholic Championship ranked nationally. The men currently sit 13th while the women are 27th in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll. Both the men’s and the women’s teams opened up the season strong with top-team performances at the Crusader Open in Valparaiso, Ind., last Friday, with each taking home the team titles.
The line-up for the Irish men on Friday will include names of those that did not compete at the Crusader Open. Some of those making a season debut includes senior Brett Adams (Davenport, Iowa/Assumption), sophomore Greg Kiley (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) and senior Mike Popejoy (Wheaton, Ill./Warrenville South). Junior Chris Rodriguez (Kelso, Wash./Kelso) will also be in the line-up after taking home the individual crown from the Crusader Open.
On the women’s side, fresh faces will also adorn the start line for the Irish. Senior Ann Mazur (Pittsburgh, Ps./Seton-LaSalle) will make a season debut, along with freshmen Marissa Treece (Maple City, Mich./Glen Lake) and Theresa Cattuna (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill).
A complete list of entrants for the 2007 National Catholic Championship can be found at www.und.edu. Final results from the meet will be distributed shortly after the conclusion of the day’s events and can also be found at www.und.edu and the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) following the conclusion.