Oct. 29, 2004
BOSTON, MASS. – The fifth-ranked Notre Dame men’s cross country team used a late surge by junior Vincent Ambrico (Alamonte Springs, Fla./Choate Rosemary Hall) to win the program’s fourth BIG EAST title by one point over No. 7 Georgetown at Franklin Park on Friday afternoon. The Fighting Irish women, who are ranked sixth, were denied their third straight conference victory as they placed second behind Providence (#2). Junior Tim Moore (Novi, Mich./Novi) finished sixth overall to lead the Irish men, while Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Elmira), a junior, came in fifth for the women. The Notre Dame men last won the conference title in 2001.
Moore ran in a time of 23:53 and was followed directly by three of his Irish teammates. Sophomore Kurt Benninger (Chepstow, Ontario/Walkerton D.S.S.) (23:54), junior Kaleb Van Ort (Waterloo, Ind./Dekalb) (23:54) and senior Sean O’Donnell (Kansas City, Mo./Rockhurst) (23:55) placed seventh through ninth, respectively, to earn all-BIG EAST honors. Ambrico started slow but used a late kick in the final 1,000 meters to overcome four runners and claim 17th in a time of 24:27, which was just enough to put the Irish over the top.
“We knew it was going to be a tough race and it always is with these four schools,” stated Notre Dame men’s head coach Joe Piane, whose team lost to Georgetown one year ago 29 to 66. “It really hinged on our fifth man and Vinnie closed real well and he passed a few fellows. It was the dogfight we knew it would be and it always is between those top-four schools.”
The Irish win was the first at Franklin Park, which hosts the meet every other year. “We were obviously happy,” said Moore. “Coach (Piane) came over after the race and gave us a speech that scared us and then he told us that we won and we were very happy.”
“When I fell back and met up with Tim (Moore), Kaleb (Van Ort) and Sean (O’ Donnell) we were able to work together and keep each other towards the front,” commented Benninger about the Irish strategy. “That’s exactly what we wanted. We came here to get the win and that’s what we did.”
Huddle claimed her third straight top-five BIG EAST finish as she clocked in at 20:16. Joining her as an all-BIG EAST member was junior Stephanie Madia, who placed 10th in a time of 21:00, and freshman Sunni Olding (Minster, Ohio/Minster). Olding, who finished 12th, ran well in a time of 21:04 to place as the top freshman in the field. “One of my goals was to race with my teammates and the other was to be the first freshman to cross the line,” said Olding about her performance. “I’m happy I gave everything I could to help my teammates but I definitely plan to improve.”
Seniors Kerry Meagher (Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) and Lauren King (Toronto, Ontario/Lawrence Park Coll. Inst.) crossed the finish line in times of 21:26 and 21:29 to place 19th and 21st, respectively.
“I didn’t know if we could have beaten Providence even if we ran well,” stated Irish women’s head coach Tim Connelly. “I don’t think we ran as well as we could have and that was disappointing. But we just have to go get ready for the regionals.”
Continue to follow the Irish throughout the 2004-05 season by logging onto www.und.com or by calling the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.
2004 BIG EAST Cross Country Championships (10/29/04- Franklin Park- Boston, Mass.)
MEN’S TEAM RESULTS: 1. Notre Dame 47, 2. Georgetown 48, 3. Providence 52, 4. Villanova 66, 5. Syracuse 196, 6. Connecticut 212, 7. Pittsburgh 215, 8. Boston College 222, 9. Rutgers 340, 10. Seton Hall 369.
TOP-10 MEN PLUS NOTRE DAME FINISHERS: 1. Bobby Curtis (Villanova) 23:26, 2. Chris Lukezic (Georgetown) 23:29, 3. Rod Koborsi (Georgetown) 23:39, 4. Martin Fagan (Providence) 23:43, 5. Dylan Wykes (Providence) 23:48, 6. Tim Moore (Notre Dame) 23:53, 7. Kurt Benninger (Notre Dame) 23:54, 8. Kaleb Van Ort (Notre Dame) 23:54, 9. Sean O’Donnell (Notre Dame) 23:55, 10. Patrick Moulton (Providence) 24:05, 17. Vincent Ambrico (Notre Dame) 24:27, 24. AJ Andrassy (Notre Dame) 24:43, 25. Ryan Johnson (Notre Dame) 24:48, 34. Austin Weaver (Notre Dame) 24:59, 43. Daniel Curran (Notre Dame) 25:13.
WOMEN’S TEAM RESULTS: 1. Providence 42, 2. Notre Dame 67, 3. Villanova 84, 4. Georgetown 121, 5. West Virginia 122, 6. Boston College 134, 7. Pittsburgh 214, 8. Connecticut 217, 9. Rutgers 261, 10. Syracuse 285, 11. Seton Hall 429, 12. St. John’s 467.
TOP-10 WOMEN PLUS NOTRE DAME FINISHERS: 1. Kim Smith (Providence) 19:23, 2. Mary Cullen (Providence) 20:10, 3. Maureen McCandless (Pittsburgh) 20:11, 4. Fiona Crombie (Providence) 20:11, 5. Molly Huddle (Notre Dame) 20:16, 6. Marina Muncan (Villanova) 20:27, 7. Megan Metcalfe (West Virginia) 20:32, 8. Nicole Lee (Georgetown) 20:34, 9. Maria Cicero (Boston College) 20:36, 10. Stephanie Madia (Notre Dame) 21:00, 12. Sunni Olding (Notre Dame) 21:04, 19. Kerry Meagher (Notre Dame) 21:26, 21. Lauren King (Notre Dame) 21:29, 28. Jean Marinangeli (Notre Dame) 21:54, 46. Katie DeRusso (Notre Dame) 22:39, 50. Jacqueline Carter (Notre Dame) 22:53, 53. Elizabeth Webster (Notre Dame) 22:55.
— ND –