Sept. 15, 2016
By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame cross country team continues its season at home in the 37th annual National Catholic meet on Friday. The Irish will compete in their most significant meet so far this season, hosting 41 Division I and College Division schools at Burke Golf Course.
Notre Dame, coming off a sweep in their only other contest against Valparaiso in the Crusader Open (September 2), will compete at home for the first time in 2016.
The team returns to Burke Golf Course after sweeping last year’s meet and experiencing tremendous success in the National Catholic over the past several years. The Irish men’s team has won 18 of the last 21 National Catholic titles with 12 individual first-place finishes, and the women’s squad has finished in first place 14 consecutive times, including a first-place tie with Marquette in 2006.
“Competing at home is a big advantage for so many reasons,” associate head coach Matt Sparks said. “Our home course is actually on our campus, which is very unique. Our student-athletes are incredibly proud of our campus. This meet gives them not only a chance to compete at home where they are most comfortable but also to show off the university.”
Additional news and notes regarding the National Catholic are below.
Meet: National Catholic
Location: Burke Golf Course (Notre Dame, Indiana)
Schedule of Events:
3:30 p.m. J.V. Race (Men and Women begin simultaneously)
Women’s Distance: 5K
Men’s Distance: 5 miles
4:15 p.m. Women’s Championship 5K
5:00 p.m. Men’s Championship 5 miles
Looking at Meet History
This year’s meet marks the 37th annual National Catholic, which the Irish men and women swept last year. The men have won the race 21 times with 15 individual first-place winners, and the women have recorded 17 titles and 14 individual victories (since 1984). Last season, Irish freshman Anna Rohrer (17:20.7) finished first as an individual in her first career National Catholic meet.
Sparks said the staff is excited to see who steps up this year.
“This meet will will be the first competition of the year where most of our team gets challenged,” he said.
The Notre Dame women’s team enters the meet ranked No. 15 in the country. The women’s roster features two seniors and three graduate students and is building off of a 2015 roster that featured a NCAA Champion and USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year.
Freshman Tyler Keslin (Munster High School/Munster, Indiana) will make his college debut. Keslin, who was named all-state in cross country in Indiana, joins fellow freshman Kevin Salvano as the only runners to make their debuts so far this season.
Keeping It 100 (Percent)
The Irish men’s and women’s teams each recorded perfect scores in the annual Crusader Open (Valparaiso, Indiana) on September 2. Sophomore Annie Heffernan (18:47.7) finished in first for the women, while junior Billy Dolan (19:29.3) placed first on the men’s side.
The conclusion of Friday’s championship races will be streamed live on Facebook for all fans to tune in and watch the Irish remotely. Family and friends are encouraged to “like” Notre Dame Cross Country/Track and Field.
Back to the Bend
The National Catholic marks Notre Dame’s first of two home meets of the season. The Irish will return to action at home at Burke Golf Course on Friday, September 30, at 2:00 p.m. ET.
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.