Junior Jessica Rydberg was one of three Irish runners selected to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.

Kildoo Named To Team USA; Teams Earn Academic Honors

Feb. 15, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With the excitement of signing day in the rear-view mirror, the Notre Dame cross country program has had more positive news in the last week.


On Saturday, freshman Jake Kildoo finished fifth (25:05.8) in the junior men’s 8K race at the USA Cross Country Championships in Saint Louis, Mo. The top-five finish qualified Kildoo to run for team USA at next month’s North America, Central American, & Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships that will be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad on March 17, 2012.

“This is a great honor for Jake,” said men’s cross country head coach Joe Piane. “He is learning how to run cross country and this opportunity will give him more chances to run against elite talent.”


Last week three Notre Dame cross country student-athletes were selected to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team. The honorees include senior Jordan Carlson on the men’s side and junior Jessica Rydberg and freshman Gabby Gonzales on the women’s side.

Carlson, who sports a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.711, placed 15th at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in November, while Rydberg (3.630) and Gonzales (3.505) finished 10th and 13th, respectively.

Carlson was one of 10 men’s runners from the BIG EAST who were honored, while Rydberg and Gonzales were two of 15 from the league on the women’s side. The BIG EAST led the nation in both men’s and women’s selections.

To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team, a student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have either earned USTFCCCA All-America status or finished in the NCAA region’s top 15 (or top 10 percent) in 2011.

“These three did a splendid job balancing academics and athletics,” said women’s cross country head coach Tim Connelly. “It takes a special person to do the work that is required of a Notre Dame student-athlete and perform at the highest level on the playing field.”

Both Irish teams were also honored for their performance in the classroom as both the men’s team (3.32) and the women’s squad (3.42) had the necessary GPA to be named a 2011 Division I All-Academic team by the USTFCCCA. The organization announced the academic awards on Monday and Wednesday as part of their cross country wrap up as conference indoor track and field championships heat up.

The women’s squad was one of a nation-leading 14 BIG EAST teams to earn the honor, while the men were one of a nation-leading 11 conference squads to be selected.

To qualify as a USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team, the team must have had a cumulative team GPA of 3.00 or better and have started at least five runners at their respective NCAA regional championship.