Rising senior Jessica Rydberg leads the women's team into the 2012 cross country season.

Irish Release 2012 Cross Country Schedule

May 18, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame cross country team will play host to a pair of annual meets and will compete in several elite national competitions in a five-meet regular season that gets underway on August 31, men’s head coach Joe Piane and women’s head coach Tim Connelly announced on Friday.

In addition to the BIG EAST Championships, the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals and the NCAA National Championships, the Irish have the possibility of competing in eight meets this season, with seven of them slated for a Friday running.

The Irish, who finished 22nd (women) and 24th (men), respectively, at the 2011 NCAA National Championships, get their season underway as they have for the last several years with a trip to Valparaiso, Ind., for the Crusader Invitational on August 31.

Notre Dame then returns home to the Notre Dame Golf Course, where they will play host to two long-standing meets in the National Catholic Championship (Sept. 14) and the Notre Dame Invitational (Sept. 28).

The National Catholic Invitational has been run every year since 1980 on the men’s side and 1984 on the women’s side.

A staple since 1956 on the men’s side and 1987 on the women’s side, the Notre Dame Invitational routinely welcomes in many of the nation’s elite programs.

Two Big Ten meets close out the regular season for the Irish as the two squads head to West Lafayette, Ind., on Oct. 5 for the Purdue Invitational and to Madison, Wisc., on Oct. 12 for the Wisconsin Invitational. The trip to Wisconsin and the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course will offer the Irish an opportunity to scout out the site of the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals, which are scheduled for Nov. 9.

After a pair of training weeks, Notre Dame heads to the Bronx, N.Y., for the BIG EAST Championship. This year the races will take place at Van Cortlandt Park. Last year, both teams finished sixth, competing against several highly ranked teams.

If the two teams qualify for the NCAA National Championships again, they will head to a new location for the first time in nine years, as the national meet heads to Louisville, Ky.’s E.P. `Tom’ Sawyer State Park after eight years at Indiana State’s LaVern Gibson National Championship Cross Country Course.

For complete information on Notre Dame cross country as the season gets closer, stay tuned to UND.com. Fans can also follow the two teams at www.facebook.com/NDXCTF and @NDXCTF on Twitter.