Sept. 18, 2015

2015 National Catholic Championships Program Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Continuing a storied tradition of athletic competition for large and small institutions alike, the Notre Dame cross country team will welcome a field of 41 teams to the National Catholic Championships Friday at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. (ET) with the J.V. race. The men and women will start simultaneously in the event, with the women running a 5k and the men completing five miles. The women’s 5k championship will follow at 4:15 p.m. (ET), while the men’s five-mile championship will serve as a conclusion at 5 p.m. (ET). Results will be available on as soon as possible following the final race.

Name: 2015 National Catholic Championships
Location: Notre Dame, Ind. (Notre Dame Golf Course)
Schedule of Events:
3:30 p.m. (ET) – J.V./Open Race
4:15 p.m. (ET) – Women’s Championship Race – 5k
5 p.m. (ET) – Men’s Championship Race – 5 miles

Competing Teams (41):
Calumet – St. Joseph
Cardinal Stritch
Franciscan (Ohio)
*Holy Cross
*Loyola (Ill.)
Mount St. Joseph
*Notre Dame
Notre Dame (Ohio)
*Saint Francis (Pa.)
*Saint Louis
Saint Mary’s (Minn.)
Siena Heights
St. Anselm
St. Benedict
St. Francis (Ind.)
St. Joseph’s (Ind.)
St. Thomas (Minn.)
St. Xavier
Thomas More
Wheeling Jesuit
*Xavier (Ohio)

* Denotes Division I

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

University of Notre Dame alumnus Robert H. Harris and his wife, Mary Ellen, have made a $5.5 million gift to his alma mater to underwrite the construction of a stadium for the Irish track and field teams, the Notre Dame Athletic Department announced Thursday.

The Harris Family Track and Field Stadium will be built on the west side of the nine-lane outdoor track and field facility in the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus. The new building will house a number of team support areas, including student-athlete and coach locker rooms, team meeting and event operations space, a nutrition station, and a satellite athletic training area.

For more information on this pertinent news for the Irish cross country/track and field family please visit:

Karen Lesiewicz, a graduate student this season, was invited as a guest on the Jack Swarbrick Show. Hosted weekly by Notre Dame Vice President and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame football captain Joe Schmidt, the trio discussed a variety of topics, including race strategy, earning a degree from the Mendoza College of Business, overcoming challenges and, of course, the upcoming National Catholic Championships.

“The great thing about this meet is that it’s all different levels of schools and all Catholic schools,” Lesiewicz explained. “It’s just such a great experience to ease into the season without a crazy meet of all Division I schools, especially for the freshmen to not feel too overwhelmed.

After that will be the Notre Dame Invitational. I think something so great about our team, especially with such promising talent, is we have a little bit of the luxury of basing our training toward long-term goals. Whereas last year we were more focused on getting toward the regional meet and see how great we can be. With our talent now and the depth that we have, we can focus more on the national meet.”

Karen Lesiewicz visiting the Jack Swarbrick Show on Thursday

In the weekly poll released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Notre Dame women’s squad ranks 20th nationally. The Irish stand fourth among nationally ranked ACC foes.

The women’s contingent was selected as the preseason conference favorite in the annual ACC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Considered the group projected to bring home the ACC title, the Irish held off second-place NC State in the preseason standings.

On the men’s side, the Irish were picked to finish eighth in the conference. Syracuse, which captured the 2013 and 2014 ACC men’s titles, led the standings as a near-unanimous selection.

This year marks the 36th running of the National Catholic Championships.

Both Irish squads – men and women – have historically performed well at the historic home event. The men’s group claimed 11 consecutive team championships spanning 1995-2004, while the women’s group has won 21 of the past 23 team crowns.

Last season the success only continued as Molly Seidel, currently a senior for the Irish, brought home the women’s title, marking the 12th straight year a Notre Dame runner finished on top the leaderboard in the race. The women’s team also came away with the win.

Then senior Jake Kildoo brought home the men’s individual title for the Irish, with current junior Chris Marco finishing on his heels in second. The men’s team concluded the meet with a runner-up showing.

A headline grabbing freshmen class joins the Irish this season.

Hailed as the nation’s best by both FloTrack and, the women’s group includes a pair of five-star recruits – Anna 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 National Catholic Championships features:
Timothy Ball
Michael Clevenger
Billy Dolan
Jacob Dumford
John Flannery
Calvin Kraft
Chris Marco
Kevin Pulliam
Aaron Roe

Representing the Irish women:
Elli Brady
Lourdes Brea
Rachel DaDamio
Ella Fennelly
Toni Finnane
Sydney Foreman
Kaitlin Frei
Kelly Hart
Annie Heffernan
Karen Lesiewicz
Anna Rohrer

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