Oct. 1, 2015

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In celebration of the past, present and future of the Notre Dame cross country program, the team will host a highly competitive field of 48 teams at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational Friday at the Notre Dame Golf Course. In what marks the 60th anniversary of the premier meet, the Fighting Irish look to recognize their legendary former head coach Joe Piane by naming the contest in his honor.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (ET) with the Blue Division 5k women’s race. The Blue Division 5-mile men’s race will follow at 2:45 p.m. (ET). An open race will take place at 3:30 p.m. (ET). The men and women will start simultaneously in the open race, with the women running a 5k and the men completing five miles. The Gold Division 5k women’s race is slated for 4:15 p.m. (ET), while the Gold Division five-mile men’s race will conclude the afternoon at 5 p.m. (ET).

Results will be available on UND.com as soon as possible following the final race. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will provide coverage of the event on the National Results Wall using crowd-sourced social media updates. Fans are encouraged to have an active role in generating Twitter/Instagram posts with live race updates and race photos: Link.

Name: 2015 Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational
Location: Notre Dame, Ind. (Notre Dame Golf Course)
Schedule of Events:

  • Women’s Blue Division (5k) – 2 p.m.
  • Men’s Blue Division (5 Miles) – 2:45 p.m.
  • Open Race (Women – 5k/Men – 5 Miles) – 3:30 p.m.
  • Women’s Gold Division (5k) – 4:15 p.m.Men’s Gold Division (5 Miles) – 5 p.m.

Competing Teams (48):
Arizona State
Colorado State
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Kentucky
Eastern Michigan
Idaho State
Illinois – Chicago
Illinois State
Indiana State
Lake Superior State
Miami (OH)
Murray State
NC State
New Mexico
North Central
Northern Iowa
Northern Kentucky
Notre Dame
Saint Louis
Southern Utah
Texas A&M
Trevecca Nazarene
UC Santa Barbara
UNC Greensboro
UW Green Bay
UW Oshkosh
UW Stevens Point
Western Michigan

As the Fighting Irish prepare for the contest, here are the important news and notes to get a head start on the competition:

The 60th running of the previously known Notre Dame Invitational is set to be a special one, not only in regards to the diamond anniversary of the trademark event. This season the premier meet will be named in honor of Piane, the former Notre Dame cross country and track and field head coach.

Piane, a legend in both the collegiate and national ranks, retired following the 2013-14 campaign. Serving at the helm of the Irish program for 39 seasons, Piane concluded his career with the second-longest tenure of any Notre dame athletic coach in history – behind only former Irish baseball coach Jake Kline’s 42 seasons.

Piane’s list of accomplishments is extensive. He tutored a total of 189 Irish All-Americans and was recognized twice as the national cross country coach of the year. Over 18 seasons in the BIG EAST Conference (1996-2013), Piane’s teams won 26 championships — 13 men’s track and field indoor and outdoor titles, five women’s track and field indoor and outdoor crowns, to go with five men’s cross country and three women’s cross country titles. Those accolades do not even begin to cover the impact Piane had on countless student-athletes, on and off the track.

In the weekly poll released by the USTFCCCA, the Notre Dame women’s squad ranks 20th nationally. The Irish stand fourth among nationally ranked ACC counterparts. In the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings, Notre Dame remains posted in the Top 5, polling fourth behind Big Ten foes Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

On the men’s side, Notre Dame is situated just outside the Top 10, ranking 11th in the Great Lakes region.

On par with tradition, some of the top runners in the nation will line up at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational.

The Notre Dame men will join an elite 21-team field for the Blue Division race, which features nationally ranked New Mexico (17), Arizona State (18), Southern Utah (23), Colorado State (26), NC State (27) and Eastern Kentucky (28).

Top-ranked New Mexico headlines the women’s Blue Division. However, the Lobos will not have an easy path to the title, with nationally ranked NC State (14), Notre Dame (20) and Vanderbilt (22) joining the field.

The Notre Dame cross country contingent stormed through its competition Friday, Sept. 18 at the 36th-edition of the National Catholic Championships, rising atop both the men’s and women’s team standings. Hosted by the Irish at the Notre Dame Golf Course, the meet welcomed 41 teams ranging from large to small institutions.

To headline the event, freshman standout Anna Rohrer claimed her first collegiate victory, while a pair of sophomores – Kevin Pulliam and Calvin Kraft – rose to the occasion in the men’s championship race. Timothy Ball, a senior this season, led the way individually for the Irish men with a third-place finish.

The race was a success for the Notre Dame program not only in terms of result, but also as a platform for the heralded freshmen class to ease into collegiate competition.

“This race will give them peace of mind that they’ve got that first college race out of the way, with that comes confidence,” Notre Dame associate head coach Matt Sparks said following the meet.

A headline grabbing freshmen class joins the Irish this season.

Hailed as the nation’s best by both FloTrack and milesplit.com, the women’s group includes a pair of five-star recruits -Rohrer and Annie Heffernan – and one four-star standout – Rachel DaDamio. One of the roster additions specifically recognizable to the South Bend area is Rohrer. A local product from Mishawaka, Ind., Rohrer arrives at Notre Dame with several state and national awards, including the 2014-15 National Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

A trio of runners will look to have an immediate impact for the men’s team. Aaron Roe, who hails from Seattle, Wash., arrives with a cross country state championship to his name, while Joseph Suarez and Anthony Williams were multi-state qualifiers in Illinois and Indiana, respectively.

The Notre Dame men’s entries for the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational features:
Timothy Ball
Michael Clevenger
Billy Dolan
Jacob Dumford
John Flannery
Brent Kennedy
Chris Marco
Kevin Pulliam
Aaron Roe

Representing the Irish women:
Rachel DaDamio
Sydney Foreman
Annie Heffernan
Karen Lesiewicz
Anna Rohrer
Molly Seidel

For an inside look into the Notre Dame Cross Country/Track and Field program, follow the Fighting Irish onTwitter,Facebook and Instagram.

– Ashley Albertson, Athletics Communications Assistant Director