Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Keys To The Race: Crusader Open

Sept. 1, 2016

By Megan Golden

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame cross country team opens its 2016 slate Friday in the Crusader Open in Valparaiso, Indiana, for the 14th consecutive season.

Notre Dame will compete head-to-head against Valparaiso in this year’s meet. Irish juniors Billy Dolan, Sydney Foreman and Kaitlyn Frei will make their third consecutive trip to Valparaiso. Notre Dame senior Jacob Dumford and junior John Flannery will make their second appearance in the Crusader Open after not making the trip in 2015.

“A lot of men in this group have been very good milers on the track and we hope to see that transition into great cross country runners over time,” assistant coach Sean Carlson said.

Additional news and notes regarding the Notre Dame cross country program’s opening meet are below.

Meet: Crusader Open
Location: Sunset Hills Park, Valparaiso, Indiana
Schedule of Events:
Women’s Championship (5K): 6:00 p.m. ET
Men’s Championship (6K): 6:45 p.m. ET

This year’s meet marks the 14th consecutive time the Irish have opened their season with the Crusader Open. The two teams’ face-to-face matchup marks the first time in several years that only two schools will compete in the meet.

After not competing during the 2015 cross country season, graduate student Danielle Aragon will make her return to the course Friday. Aragon ran indoor track her senior year, placing third in the mile (4:39.25) and third in the distance medley relay (11:19.56) at the Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championships. She also finished sixth in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships, receiving First Team All-America honors.

Aragon has competed in 14 career cross country meets. Most recently, she placed 19th of 140 runners at the ACC Championship 6K (20:48.4) and earned All-ACC honors.

Notre Dame freshman Kevin Salvano will make his college debut at Sunset Hills Park. Salvano, who was the sectional runner-up and cross country state champion his senior year at Buffalo Grove High School (Arlington Heights, Ill.), will be the lone freshman competing in the meet. This marks the fewest freshmen that have made the trip to Valparaiso since at least 2004. Notre Dame traveled three freshmen in 2015, including Ella Fennelly, Kelly Hart and Aaron Roe.

“I am excited to see Kevin Salvano putting on the Notre Dame jersey as a freshman and replicating the success he has had in high school cross country,” Carlson said.

Danielle Aragon
Rachel DaDamio
Sydney Foreman
Kaitlyn Frei
Annie Heffernan

Billy Dolan
Jacob Dumford
John Flannery
Kirk Hansen
Grant Koch
Kevin Salvano
Anthony Williams

Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse, cross country/track and field and women’s basketball programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.