Oct. 15, 2015

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. ââ’¬” Members of the Notre Dame cross country team will suit up against a host of the top collegiate talent in the nation Friday at the seventh annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis. The women’s field will feature 20 ranked teams, while 17 of the top-30 men’s teams will race at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course, which is also the location of the 2015 NCAA Great Lakes Regional.

The meet will commence at 12 p.m. (ET) with the women’s 6k championship race. The men’s 8k championship will follow at 12:45 p.m. (ET). A pair of “B” races will conclude the meet, with the women’s 6k competition slated for 1:30 p.m. (ET) and the men’s 8k race at 2:10 p.m. (ET).

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: Wisconsin adidas Invitational
Location: Madison, Wis. ââ’¬” Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course
Schedule of Events:
Women’s Championship Race (6k): 12 p.m. (ET)
Men’s Championship Race (8k): 12:45 p.m. (ET)
Women’s “B” Race (6k): 1:30 p.m. (ET)
Men’s “B” Race (8k): 2:10 p.m. (ET)

Competing Teams:
Arizona State
Boise State
Boston College
Eastern Kentucky
Florida State
Iowa State
Michigan State
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Northern Arizona
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Ole Miss
Penn State
South Dakota State
West Virginia
William & Mary

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

In the weekly poll released by the USTFCCCA, the Notre Dame women’s squad ranks 18th 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 inside the Top 10, ranking eighth in the Great Lakes region.

Notre Dame associate head coach Matt Sparks took time this week to discuss the state of his Irish team heading into the meet. Here are some highlights from the conversation:

On the Notre Dame women’s team
“If the women can be in the top-15, we’ve bettered our resume and we’ve gained experience in that type of field. We are still a little banged up on the women’s side, only five athletes deep, so we need our sixth and seventh runner to close the gap on the fourth and fifth. That would be a big step in the right direction. We are still working on getting some girls who haven’t raced this year back into the mix.”

On the Notre Dame men’s team
“On the men’s side, we have a solid top-7, who are almost interchangeable from three to seven. If the men can be in the top-25, they’ve done well and will give them some boost to their resume.”

On using this race as a part of the greater scheme for nationals
“Last year at this race, Molly Seidel was 30th. Five weeks later, she finished 19th in the nation. And, where our training is, it’s geared to being more fit in mid-November than in mid-October. So, we might take some lumps now, but they have to keep in mind that we’re going to do some things that will push them that extra 10-20 spots later in the season.”

On the development of the men’s team
“Mike Clevenger is a good leader for the team and Tim Ball, those are our two captains. I’m comfortable where they are. They’ll perform that way week-in and week-out. They just need to work on the younger guys, getting that consistency.

“We have two sophomores who have come a long way from high school walk-ons to where they are now. Calvin Kraft and Kevin Pulliam are gaining confidence as well, but they just need to gain some perspective on how to run in this crowded field. We’re telling them, they just need to be 100th-125th in this race, but what does that really mean? It’s a scale once again that you can’t talk enough about, you just need to get into the race and fight your way through the crowd.”

With a field of competitors featuring a combined 10 nationally ranked men’s and women’s teams, the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational continued building upon its storied tradition Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Golf Course. Celebrating the legacy of the event’s namesake, Joe Piane, and the 60th anniversary of the premier meet, the Fighting Irish came away with a pair of top-10 team finishes.

Overall, the Notre Dame women placed third in the Blue Division team standings with a score of 143. The Blue Division women’s 5k race concluded with two Irish earning top-10 individual finishes. Both student-athletes ââ’¬” Molly Seidel and Anna Rohrer – overcame mid-week illnesses to compete in the race. The Notre Dame men’s team placed 10th in the Blue Division team standings behind the efforts of Michael Clevenger, Timothy Ball, Chris Marco, Jacob Dumford and Kevin Pulliam. Clevenger, a senior this season, led the way for the Irish with a 12th-place effort in a time of 24:01.3.

The 60th running of the previously known Notre Dame Invitational was special, not only for the diamond anniversary of the trademark event. This season the premier meet was named in honor of Joe 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 ââ’¬” behind only former Irish baseball coach Jake Kline’s 42 seasons.

Coach Piane recapped his historic career with Jack Nolan, from Fighting Irish Media:

A headline grabbing freshmen class joined 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 ââ’¬”Rohrer and Annie Heffernan – and one four-star standout ââ’¬” 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 Wisconsin adidas Invitational features:
Timothy Ball
Michael Clevenger
Kevin Pulliam
Jacob Dumford
Anthony Williams
Calvin Kraft
Chris Marco
“B” Race
John Flannery
Brent Kennedy

Representing the Irish women:
Molly Seidel
Anna Rohrer
Rachel DaDamio
Karen Lesiewicz
Annie Heffernan
Sydney Foreman
Toni Finnane
“B” Race
Ella Fennelly

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