NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams have their sights set on the 2019 NCAA Championships, set to take off Saturday morning at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Each team is making a return trip to the championships for the second straight year. Last season the Irish women finished eighth nationally, their best finish since also placing eighth in 2015. The men’s team came in 14th in the nation, their highest finish since placing third in 2005.
The meet will also mark the culmination of the career of graduate student Anna Rohrer, a three-time cross country All-American who is one of 22 women in NCAA history to record three top-10 finishes at the national race. In her debut season, Rohrer placed sixth at NCAAs, followed by a third-place finish in 2016 and a 10th-place showing in 2018. Just one woman has finished in the top 10 four times.
With Rohrer’s leadership, Hatherly-Piane Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Matt Sparks will look for his women’s squad to coalesce despite their relative youth. The rest of the Irish lineup is making either their first or second appearance in the national meet.
“There’s not any more veteran person (than Anna Rohrer) on the course come Saturday,” Sparks said. “It’s great to have her training and racing with this young team all year, and we need these young kids to step up this weekend so that a year from now they know what to expect.
“I think the team chemistry right now is really strong,. I know when one of them is down, they do a good job of picking that person up and pulling them through. … The rest of the team can, from a performance standpoint, pick up for them, but also throughout the week emotionally pick them up and give them confidence and remind them how valuable they are. There’s definitely a good chemistry amongst the team right now and we feel good about things going into Saturday.”
The Irish men return four student-athletes who competed at last year’s NCAA Championships, sophomore Danny Kilrea — who placed 33rd and claimed All-America status — juniors Yared Nuguse and Andrew Alexander and senior Kevin Salvano. It will mark the NCAA cross country debut for sophomore Dylan Jacobs, a former Footlocker National Champion who also helped the Irish distance medley relay claim an NCAA title last season along with Nuguse.
That team put together its most complete race of the season last week, earning an automatic NCAA bid with a second-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Though only the team’s top five finishers count toward the team score, all seven Irish entrants placed in the top 30 in a region that ultimately sent five teams to the national race.
What: NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships
When: Nov. 23, 2019
Where: LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course | Terre Haute, Ind.
Schedule of Events: Women’s Race, 11:15 a.m. ET | Men’s Race, 12:15 a.m. ET
Live Stream: FloTrack ($)
Men’s Field: (AQ) No. 30 Arkansas, No. 2 Colorado, No. 29 Georgetown, No. 23 Harvard, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 13 Middle Tennessee, No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 12 Notre Dame, No. 9 Ole Miss, No. 5 Portland, No. 10 Purdue, No. 4 Stanford, No. 18 Syracuse, No. 27 Texas, No. 6 Tulsa, No. 22 Villanova, No. 20 Virginia, No, 21 Virginia Tech; (At-Large) No. 26 Alabama, No. 25 Boise State, No. 3 Brigham Young, RV Florida State, No. 28 Furman, No. 16 Indiana, No. 15 Iona, No. 17 Michigan, No. 24 NC State, No. 8 Oregon, No. 19 Utah State, No. 11 Washington, No. 14 Wisconsin
Women’s Field: (AQ) No. 1 Arkansas, No. 3 Brigham Young, No. 30 Cornell, No. 9 Florida State, No. 15 Furman, No. 25 Harvard, No. 21 Illinois, No. 8 Michigan, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 6 NC State, No. 7 New Mexico, No. 23 Ole Miss, No. 16 Penn State, No. 2 Stanford, No. 29 Texas, No. 24 Tulsa, No. 22 Villanova, No. 4 Washington; (At-Large) No. 12 Air Force, No. 13 Boise State, RV Boston College, No. 10 Colorado, No. 28 Columbia, No. 26 Indiana, No. 27 Minnesota, No. 20 Northern Arizona, No. 19 Notre Dame, No. 17 Ohio State, No. 18 Oregon, No. 14 Utah, No. 11 Wisconsin
Irish Championship Lineup
Men (alphabetical): Andrew Alexander, Matthew Carmody, Brendan Fraser, Dylan Jacobs, Danny Kilrea, Yared Nuguse, Kevin Salvano
Women (alphabetical): Erin Archibeck, Maddy Denner, Jackie Gaughan, Anna Sophia Keller, Jocelyn Long, Olivia Markezich, Anna Rohrer
By the Numbers
1 — The Irish opened the 2019 season with first-place finishes at the Crusader Open on Sept. 6 and at the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 20.
2 — The Notre Dame men’s program placed second at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional last week, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships
2 — The Irish men placed second at the 2019 ACC Championships, five points behind champion Syracuse.
2 — Junior Yared Nuguse turned in a career-best finish at ACCs, finishing as runner-up in 24:21.6 on the 8K course.
2 — The number of Notre Dame women who earned All-Great Lakes Region recognition for finishing in the top 25. Graduate student Anna Rohrer placed fifth, followed by sophomore Jackie Gaughan in 16th.
3 — Notre Dame’s women finished in third place at the 2019 ACC Championships.|
3 — Sophomore Maddy Denner finished third at ACCs to lead the Irish, claiming ACC Freshman of the Year honors on the way. A January enrollee, Denner was eligible for freshman honors in her first season of cross country eligibility.
3 — The number of Irish men and women who claimed All-ACC recognition in 2019. For the men, it was Yared Nuguse (second), Dylan Jacobs (fifth) and Andrew Alexander (14th) and for the women it was Maddy Denner (third), Anna Rohrer (seventh) and Jackie Gaughan (18th).
3 — The number of Irish women who are returning to the NCAA field after also competing last season — Anna Rohrer, Jackie Gaughan and Anna Sophia Keller.
4 — The number of Irish men who claimed All-Great Lakes Region recognition by finishing in the top 25. Sophomore Dylan Jacobs placed eighth to lead the Irish, followed by junior Yared Nuguse (10th), junior Andrew Alexander (15th) and senior Kevin Salvano (25). All four competed in last season’s NCAA Championship as well.
5 — Anna Rohrer’s finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, leading the Irish to a fifth-place team finish and an at-large NCAA Championship bid.
6 — The number of women to finish in the top 10 of the NCAA Cross Country Championship three times since 2010, one of whom is Irish graduate student Anna Rohrer. None have accomplished the feat four times in the past 10 seasons.
6K — The women’s race will be run on a six-kilometer course.
7 — Each team may race up to seven individuals in the Great Lakes championship race.
8 — The women’s team finish at the 2018 NCAA Championship.
10 — Anna Rohrer’s finish at last season’s NCAA Championships, leading the Irish in their eighth-place finish and earning her All-America recognition for the third time.
10K — The NCAA Championship will mark the second men’s race of the season at the 10K distance.
12 — The Irish men came in 12th in the latest USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll.
14 — The men’s team finish at the 2018 NCAA Championship.
19 — The Irish women ranked at No. 19 in the most recent USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll.
31 — The number of teams in the NCAA field on each side.
33 — Sophomore Danny Kilrea’s finish at last season’s NCAA Championship, leading the Irish and earning him All-America accolades.
- Notre Dame will be racing at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Indiana, a familiar course for many in the Irish program. A frequent host of NCAA Regionals (four times), NCAA Championships (17 times) and the Indiana state high school championships, it is well known by the Midwestern contingent of the Irish lineup. Anna Rohrer owns the Indiana high school state championship record on the course, on which she won two state titles, and finished third at the NCAA Championships there in 2016.
- Graduate student Anna Rohrer is one of 22 women to have finished in the top 10 in three NCAA Cross Country Championship appearances. She has the chance to become the second to accomplish the feat four times with a top 10 finish on Saturday. Arizona’s Amy Skieresz completed the quad after winning the title in 1996 and placing second in 1995, 1997 and 1998.
- For the second straight season, both Irish men and women will appear at the NCAA Championships. The men earned an automatic qualification by finishing second at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, while the women earned an at-large bid.
- After last appearing at the NCAA Championships in 2013, the men’s team is making its second straight NCAA appearance. The Irish have made 49 appearances at the national meet and won the NCAA Championship in 1957. From 1938-1950, the Irish finished in the top 10 nationally each year, except for 1943 when the championship was cancelled due to World War II. The Irish were the national runners-up in 1938, 1944 and 1945.
- The women are appearing for the ninth time in 11 seasons and the 16th time overall.
- Rohrer was named the ACC Performer of the Week on two occasions this season, following her performance at the Notre Dame Joe Piane Invitational (week of Oct. 9) and the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational (week of Oct. 23).
- The Irish men and women combined for six All-Region honorees (top 25 at the regional meet), with Anna Rohrer (fifth) and Jackie Gaughan (16th) representing the women and Dylan Jacobs (eighth), Yared Nuguse (10th), Andrew Alexander (15th) and Kevin Salvano (25th) representing the men.
- Junior Yared Nuguse claimed runner-up honors at the ACC Championships on November 1, marking his highest finish at the conference event. That helped pace the Irish to a second-place team finish.
- Sophomore Maddy Denner was named the ACC Freshman of the Year after her third-place finish at the ACC Championship.
- Sophomore Dylan Jacobs finished in fifth place at the ACC Championships, marking his best finish since winning the National Catholic Invitational on September 20 in his collegiate debut.
- Both Irish men and women came out on top in the season’s first two meets, first at the Crusader Open on Sept. 6 before opening the home slate on top at the National Catholic Invitational on Sept. 20.
- The Irish men recorded a perfect score at the National Catholic Invitational taking the top five spots. Dylan Jacobs took the NCI title in his cross country debut, followed by Matthew Carmody (second), Peter Monahan (third), Zach Kreft (fourth) and Tyler Keslin (fifth).
- The Irish women are led by three-time cross country All-American and 2016 ACC Cross Country Champion Anna Rohrer. After missing her junior cross country season, Rohrer returned as a senior and paced the Irish to an eighth-place national finish in 2018 as the team’s top finisher in 10th place. All told, Rohrer is an eight-time All-America honoree between cross country and track.
- Sophomore Danny Kilrea finished 33rd at last season’s NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors.
- Junior Yared Nuguse won a pair of national championships during the track season, anchoring the men’s distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and winning the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He finished third at both the ACC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional last season.
- Maddy Denner and Jocelyn Long were mid-year transfers for the Irish last season, enrolling in January and competing during the track season. Denner competed in the 10,000 meters at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, finishing 19th.
- Graduate student Tony Williams and senior Kevin Salvano are serving as men’s team captains this season, while graduate students Anna Rohrer and Kelly Hart serve in the same capacity for the women’s squad.
- Sean Carlson was promoted to head men’s cross country coach prior to the season. He had spent the previous five seasons as an Irish assistant coach primarily focused on distance.