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Keys To The Race: NCAA Championship

Nov. 17, 2016

By Megan Golden

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame women’s cross country team is headed to the NCAA Championship. The Irish enter the meet looking to win the program’s first team championship and second consecutive individual title.

The Irish advanced to the No. 11 spot in the USTFCCCA rankings following a second-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional meet in Madison, Wisconsin, last Friday. Notre Dame opened the season ranked No. 15 and has slowly climbed the rankings each week.

WHAT: NCAA Championship 6K
WHEN: Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 11 a.m. ET
WHERE: LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course (Terre Haute, Ind.)

Irish History

The Irish will make their 15th appearance in the national championship and will look to win their first team championship in program history. The team recorded third place in 2002 and has placed in the top-10 five times.

In 2015, Notre Dame finished eighth overall behind Molly Seidel’s individual championship performance (19:28.6). Seidel’s championship marks the lone women’s cross country individual championship in Notre Dame history. Anna Rohrer, a freshman at the time, finished last year’s meet in sixth (19:59.7).

Regional Recap

Notre Dame finished the Great Lakes Regional Championship (Madison, Wis.) in second place last Friday, trailing only No. 5-ranked Michigan. Irish sophomore Anna Rohrer (19:35.7) was the women’s individual runner-up at the meet for the second straight season. Rohrer, sophomore Annie Heffernan (10th, 20:19.3) and graduate student Danielle Aragon (13th, 20:23.2) each earned All-Region honors.

Graduate Student Danielle Aragon Says…

On the team’s preparation heading into Saturdayââ’¬¦
“The whole season we have been focused on building up for this meet, and I think previous races have helped prepare us mentally and physically. We have been putting in solid workouts and been trying to focus on the little things like getting enough sleep and staying healthy for championship season. This is the fun part, where we get to see a fall of hard training pay off.”

On her role as a team leader during the raceââ’¬¦
“In the past meets, I’ve really focused on going out with confidence because I know my teammates can key off of my performance. We work out together every day, so when it comes to race day, we know we can all be together. The better I am able to race, the better they will race.”

Sophomore Anna Rohrer Says…

On her expectations heading into the meetââ’¬¦
“The team has been under the radar all season and we’ve continued to move up in the rankings. All of our girls are healthy and fit, and I think we will really prove ourselves on the course.”

On the significance of the meetââ’¬¦
“I haven’t worked this hard for this long to finish the race with any regrets. I’ve accomplished a lot at LaVern Gibson in the past, so I’m excited to give it my all again on a course I know and love.”

Irish Lineup

Danielle Aragon (GS)
Rachel DaDamio (So.)
Sydney Foreman (Jr.)
Jessica Harris (Jr.)
Annie Heffernan (So.)
Lexi Pelletier (Sr.)
Anna Rohrer (So.)

Track(ing) Results

Fans are encouraged to follow the championship meet LIVE, courtesy of FloSports. For a closer look, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter and Instagram.


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 and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.