July 7, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame has released its 2011 men’s and women’s cross country schedules. The docket features five races with two of the five scheduled to take part at the Notre Dame Golf Course – the National Catholic Invitational and the Notre Dame Invitational.
“Each meet gets progressively more difficult as the season goes along,” says veteran Irish head coach Joe Piane. “The first meet in Valparaiso is a very low key meet, and then the National Catholic Championship is a bit better, as is the Notre Dame Invite, and then we go to Wisconsin where the meet is significantly better. Not only is the competition better, but each meet’s importance is bigger, and that is true for both the men and women. The biggest goals for our team are always to win the BIG EAST Championship and have a strong showing at NCAAs come seasons end.”
Both squads start their campaign at the Valparaiso Crusader Invite on Friday, Sept. 2. The event features both a six-kilometer race for the men and a five-kilometer race for the women. Last year, both the Irish men and women claimed first at the event for the second consecutive season.
Two weeks later (Sept. 16) the Irish play host to the National Catholic Invitational at the Notre Dame Golf Course. The Irish have been champions 21 times in the last 31 years on the men’s side, while the women have claimed 17 of the 27 titles, including an active streak of nine-straight victories.
On September 30, Notre Dame hosts its second and final event of the fall schedule, the Notre Dame Invitational. The race is a high-caliber, 10-kilometer race featuring some of the premier teams from around the nation including Florida State, New Mexico, and BYU among others. On October 14 the Irish head to Madison, Wis., for the Wisconsin Invitational in the final regular-season tune-up before beginning postseason competition.
The final meet in October is the BIG EAST Conference Championship, which will be held at Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, Oct. 29. The Irish have claimed the conference crown on five occasions on the men’s side while the women have topped the podium three times in the 16 years Notre Dame has been a conference member.
On Nov. 12th, both squads will compete at the Great Lakes Regional in Toledo, Ohio, with an NCAA berth on the line. The men will run a 10-kilometer race and the women will compete in a six-kilometer contest with the top two teams out of the regional automatically advancing to the NCAA meet in Terra Haute, Ind. An additional 13 at-large teams also will advance on a points-earned basis.
The 2011 Irish return a stable of runners from last season in hopes of returning to the top of the conference pedestal as the men welcome back Jordan Carlson, Jeremy Rae, Johnathan Shawel, Martin Grady and J.P. Malette, while the women return Alexa Aragon, Meg Ryan, Kelly Curran, Jessica Rydberg and Rebecca Tracy.