NOTRE DAME, Ind. — In collegiate cross country, the NCAA regional championship is a numbers game.
On the one hand, it’s very simple: place in the top two and guarantee yourself a bid to the NCAA Championship, this season slated for November 23 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.
On the other hand, the at-large process can take a bit of guesswork. At its most basic, it comes down to points. Wins over automatic qualifiers from other regions accumulated during the regular season will earn you points, so third- and fourth-place (and sometimes fifth-place) regional teams with the most points have the ability to get into the national field.
Last season saw the Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams make use of both modes of entry. The men’s team placed second behind Wisconsin to secure their first NCAA bid since 2013. The women’s team finished fourth, but had amassed enough points to make its seventh NCAA Championship appearance in eight years.
So for the No. 16 and No. 19-ranked Irish women and men, the goal at Friday’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship in Madison, Wisconsin, is, of course, is to lock in an automatic qualification. Given the strength of the region, however, with five ranked teams on the men’s side and six in the women’s field, a top-five finish could be enough to guarantee a spot in Terre Haute.
The Irish will look to a mix of experience and youth in their pursuit of an NCAA bid. For the men, junior Yared Nuguse qualifies as a veteran — his pair of 2018 track national championships notwithstanding — having finished in third place at this meet last season and coming off a second-place showing at the ACC Championships two weeks ago. Sophomore Dylan Jacobs — also a national champ in the distance medley relay last season — has impressed in his debut cross country season, most recently placing fifth at the ACC Championships.
On the women’s side, three-time cross country All-American Anna Rohrer leads the way, having finished no lower than 10th at the NCAA Championships in her career. Sophomore Jackie Gaughan placed sixth at last season’s Great Lakes Regional, and Maddy Denner was named the ACC Freshman of the Year two weeks ago.
What: NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships
When: Nov. 15, 2019
Where: Zimmer Championship Course | Madison
Schedule of Events: Women’s Race, 12:30 p.m. ET | Men’s Race, 1:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: FloTrack ($)
Men’s Field: No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 13 Indiana, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Purdue, No. 19 Notre Dame, Akron, Bowling Green, Butler, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Dayton, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, IUPUI, Kent State, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Milwaukee, Oakland, Ohio, Ohio State, Purdue Fort Wayne, Toledo, Valparaiso, Wisconsin Green Bay, Wright State, Xavier, Youngstown State
Women’s Field: No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 20 Ohio State, No. 24 Butler, Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Dayton, Detroit Mercy, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, Indiana, Indiana State, IUPUI, Kent State, Marquette, Miami (Ohio), Milwaukee, Oakland, Ohio, Purdue, Purdue Fort Wayne, Toledo, Valparaiso, Western Michigan, Wisconsin Green Bay, Wright State, Xavier, Youngstown State
Irish Championship Travel Squad
Men (alphabetical): Andrew Alexander, Matthew Carmody, Brendan Fraser, Dylan Jacobs, Danny Kilrea, Yared Nuguse, Kevin Salvano
Women (alphabetical): Erin Archibeck, Maddy Denner, Jackie Gaughan, Annasophia Keller, Jocelyn Long, Olivia Markezich, Anna Rohrer, Erin Sullivan
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 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 — Graduate student Anna Rohrer’s finish at last season’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
2 — The number of regional teams that get an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championships, slated for Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Last season, the Irish men finished second in the region, locking in the automatic bid to nationals.
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 — Last season, Yared Nuguse paced the Irish men with a third-place regional finish.
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 Notre Dame women’s lineup will feature three student-athletes who competed at last season’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional — Anna Rohrer, Jackie Gaughan and Annasophia Keller.
4 — The Irish men’s lineup will feature four student-athletes who competed at last season’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional — Yared Nuguse, Andrew Alexander, Danny Kilrea and Kevin Salvano.
5 — The number of Great Lakes region men’s teams ranked in the USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll — No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 13 Indiana, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Purdue and No. 19 Notre Dame.
6 — The number of Great Lakes region women’s teams ranked in the USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll — No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 20 Ohio State and No. 24 Butler.
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.
10K — The regional will mark the first men’s race of the season at the 10K distance.
16 — The Irish women ranked at No. 16 in the most recent USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll.
19 — The Irish men came in 19th in the latest USTFCCCA Coaches’ Poll.
- Graduate student Anna 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).
- Notre Dame will be racing at the Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin, for the second time this season, having competed at Wisconsin’s Nuttycombe Invitational on October 18. The Irish women finished 12th while the men came in 15th at that race in a field of the nation’s elite teams.
- 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. Denner has finished in the top 25 in each of her five races this season, including three times in the top three.
- 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.