Senior Patrick Smyth finished fifth at last year's Pre-National meet.

Irish Set To Compete At Pre-Nationals

Oct. 17, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams have one more meet to prepare for the BIG EAST Championship – the Pre-Nationals held this Saturday at Terre Haute, Ind.

The Irish women will compete in the 6,000-meter women’s White race at 11:35 a.m. (EDT), followed by the men in the 8,000-meter men’s Blue race at 12:10 p.m. (EDT).

The Irish women will take on 10 ranked teams Saturday, including No. 3 Florida State, No. 5 Princeton, No. 8 Arizona State, 11th-ranked Michigan, No. 12 Stony Brook, 14th-ranked Baylor, No. 17 Illinois, No. 19 Georgetown, 22nd-ranked Northern Arizona and No. 30 Syracuse.

The Irish women are coming off an 11th-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational. They finished first at the National Catholic Championships and the Crusader Open earlier this season.

Notre Dame’s top finisher from a year ago, Lindsey Ferguson, returns for the Irish. Ferguson finished 37th at last year’s Pre-Nationals with a time of 21:03. Sophomore Marissa Treece was 40th a year ago, as the women finished 15th at the meet. Senior Emily Wauford, junior Beth Tacl and sophomore Abby Higgins will compete at the ’08 Pre-Nats after gaining experience at last year’s competition.

The men will compete against 11 ranked teams Saturday. Sixth-ranked Alabama, No. 9 Michigan, No. 13 Florida State, 14th-ranked Minnesota, No. 15 NC State, 16th-ranked Northern Arizona, No. 22 Providence, No. 24 William & Mary, No. 25 California, 26th-ranked Syracuse and No. 29 Cal Poly headline the men’s Blue race.

The men finished sixth at the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago. They opened the season with a second-place finishes at the Crusader Open and the National Catholic Championships.

Senior Patrick Smyth, Notre Dame’s top runner, returns for the Irish in ’08. Smyth finished fifth at the 2007 Pre-Nationals with a time of 23:18. Junior Jake Walker was 47th a year ago. Sophomores Dan Jackson and Paul Springer also competed for the Irish, adding valuable experience to this year’s lineup. Notre Dame finished fifth at the ’07 meet.

After the Pre-Nationals, the men’s and women’s cross country team will have two weeks off to prepare for the BIG EAST Championships on Oct. 31 in New York.