Nov. 12, 2015
By Ashley Albertson
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The championship campaign continues for the University of Notre Dame cross country team Friday at the 2015 NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Madison, Wisconsin. Looking to punch their ticket to the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, the Fighting Irish will return to a familiar site in the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course, which has served as the event location for four consecutive seasons.
The women’s 6k championship race commences at 1 p.m. ET, while the men compete in a 10k championship race at 2 p.m. ET.
Follow along with the competition in Wisconsin via social media updates on the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Results Wall. The goal of this page is to consolidate results, tweets and commentary regarding the nation’s biggest meets in one convenient place. Notre Dame fans are encouraged to interact by using the following hashtag, #D1GreatLakes. A link has been provided above.
Name: 2015 NCAA Great Lakes Regional
Location: Madison, Wisconsin – Thomas Zimmer Championship Course
Schedule of Events:
Women’s Championship Race (6k): 1 p.m. (ET)
Men’s Championship Race (10k): 2 p.m. (ET)
As the Fighting Irish prepare for the contest, here are the important news and notes to get a head start on the competition:
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
(From the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association)
The top-two teams from each of the nine regions automatically earn spots at the NCAA championship, while 13 teams will be selected on Saturday as at-large squads.
The process for selection involves a review of regular-season competition and finish at the regional championships. Regional finish is the first criterion, for example, a fourth-place team may not be selected for an at-large berth ahead of a third-place team from the same region. But, a team with a fourth-place finish, for example, could “push” both the third- and fourth-place finishing team into the championships if the fourth-place team has enough “wins” to be the next at-large team. Wins from the regular-season are only counted if squads beat another’s “A” team, defined by having competed four or more individuals in that regular-season meet that competed at the regional championships. Official designations of “A” and “B” teams can only be accomplished after the results of the NCAA regional meets have been completed. Also, only competitions starting Sept. 26 through regional meet weekend are included in the analysis.
After teams have been determined, 38 additional individuals per gender are selected to compete at the NCAA Championships. From those teams not selected in the above process, the top four finishers at each regional are automatically selected (but must have finished within the top 25 of the region).
MAKING THE RANKS
The Notre Dame women’s team continued its upward progression in the national rankings released by the USTFCCCA (Nov. 3). The Fighting Irish were projected 21st in the preseason standings; however, the contingent stands 15th in the latest national rankings, polling third among their ACC counterparts. In the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings, Notre Dame jumped to second following a strong, 12th-place showing at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Michigan holds the top spot in the regional standings, while Big Ten foes Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue round out the top-five teams.
On the men’s side, Notre Dame is situated just inside the Top 10, ranking ninth in the Great Lakes region.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
The fifth-ranked Michigan mens’ team looks to claim its second regional title in the last three seasons. A total of five conference champions – Michigan (Big Ten), Eastern Michigan (MAC), Indiana State (Missouri Valley), IUPUI (Summit League) and Oakland (Horizon League) – will faceoff in the race.
For the women, Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel is expected to contend for the individual title. The meeting will be the first between All-American favorites Seidel and Erin Finn of Michigan. Both ran away from the competition at their respective conference meets, but are projected to push each other heavily in the regional setting. As a team, the Irish should also be in contention for an automatic qualification to the NCAA championship meet.
RECAPPING THE 2014 NCAA GREAT LAKES REGIONAL
Coming into the meet last season, the women’s team figured it would need to finish among the top six at regionals to secure a big in the 2014 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute. The Irish fell exactly where they thought they needed to, paced by all-region performances from then juniors Seidel (fourth, 19:59) and Danielle Aragon (25th, 20:45).
Ultimately, the Fighting Irish earned an at-large selection to the NCAA championships the following day.
In the men’s 10K, Michael Clevenger led the Irish to a sixth-place team finish with a sixth-place showing of his own (30:22), earning all-region recognition and an individual at-large bid to the national meet.
LAST TIME OUT: ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS
Seidel, a senior from Harland, Wisconsin, pulled away from the competition in the women’s 6k-championship event Friday, Oct. 30 at the 2015 ACC Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Florida State at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida.
Overall, the Notre Dame women placed third with 96 points. Virginia won the team title among a field that featured five nationally ranked squads. On the men’s side, Notre Dame posted a sixth-place finish with a team score of 147 points. Syracuse repeated as the team champion in the men’s 8k event.
The title-winner was not the only member of the Fighting Irish squad earning headlines. A true team effort, the veteran finished just ahead of freshman standout Anna Rohrer. The pair became the first female teammates to finish one-two at the ACC championships since Duke’s Shannon Rowbury and Clara Horowitz in 2005.
Clevenger, a senior from Decatur, Illinois, was the top finisher for the Notre Dame men, earning 13th in an 8k time of 23:58.4. Clevenger greatly improved on his 21st overall finish at the ACC championships last season, picking up All-ACC accolades as a senior.
REVISITING SEIDEL’S ACC TITLE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
As she crossed the finish line at the 2015 ACC Cross Country Championships, Seidel had already set social media abuzz with news of her achievement. From start to finish, Seidel’s path to claiming the women’s 6k-championship title was tracked by outlets and individuals, offering both praise and admiration.
Recap Seidel’s title-winning performance with this social media rundown: LinkHere’s just a selection of what you’ll find:
– Notre Dame XC/TF (@NDXCTF) November 9, 2015
– ACC Track & Field (@ACCTrackField) October 30, 2015
Your 2015 ACC Cross Country Champion, Molly Seidel!! pic.twitter.com/LjRka14Aue
– Alan Turner (@HCAlanTurner) October 30, 2015
Representing the Irish women:
Ashley Albertson, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, joined the Fighting Irish athletics communications team in August of 2015 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. Albertson is a 2013 graduate of The Ohio State University, where she also earned her master’s degree in 2014.