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Notre Dame Dominates The Irish Classic To Open The Season

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country programs opened their seasons with wins Saturday at the Burke Golf Course, cruising to team and individual victories at the Irish Classic, a dual-meet against Louisville.

The Irish men swept the top-five finishes to total 15 points in the race and went on to claim the top seven spots. Yared Nuguse started his season strong, winning the race with a time of 24:06.92. Andrew Alexander followed in second place (24:09.84) and Dylan Jacobs finished right next to him crossing in 24:09.87. Danny Kilrea (24:12.25) finished fourth and Joshua Methner (24:12.89) placed fifth for the Irish.

The women followed suit in the second race of the day, pacing the meet from the opening gun. Jessica Schneider won the meet by crossing the line in 16:59.21, but the Irish also took the next four spots with Erin Archibeck (17:04.27), Maddy Denner (17:09.34), AnnaSophia Keller (17:11.19) and Erin Strzelecki (17:13.16) following closely behind. 


Men’s Cross Country Head Coach Sean Carlson on the opening meet performance…
“We opened up significantly faster than we have in the past. Dylan Jacobs was an All-American last year and he won this race in 25:09 a year ago and we had eight guys under 24:12 today to put it in perspective. Our guys were pushing each other. We are a significantly better team than we were a year ago and we were eighth in the country. This is part of the next step that we want to reach. We wanted to be a few steps ahead of where we were a year ago. This is a necessary step and this was a great day all around.”

On how unique it was due to the COVID rules and no spectators…
“I told the guys before the race obviously there are no fans and it is just not the same environment. But one of the things we talk about is in a race what they are racing for is each other. So all of the things that they needed today were here. We don’t race for spectators or external things. We race for our guys and they did a great job of that today.”

Hatherly-Piane Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Matt Sparks on the opening meet…
“There was a lot of passion before the race for such a small field. Our team was excited to compete for the first time in a long time. You could see that in the first mile. The race went out a lot quicker than I expected but the one that came out front for us was the one that was five to 10 seconds back at the mile. Jessica Schneider ran the race of her college career and led the way for us today, so it was exciting to see for her as a redshirt freshman to step up and do what she did today.

“Another performance that I was excited about was from Erin Strzelecki, a true freshman, she was our fifth runner. It was one of our goals to see if we could put five in front of Louisville’s one and we were able to do that today. We are going to see a lot of Louisville this year. We are going to be there in two weeks competing against them again.”

On the preparing for the rest of the season…
“One of the things we are always concerned about is getting out fast in races, it is something we have always struggled with over the years but we did it well today so that is an ease off of our training set for the next month so we can go back to working on the more aerobic side of fitness which is kind of what we are known for, which is one of our strong points now. We are going to have a long month between Louisville and the ACC Championships so that will be a good chance to train when we traditionally have to race every two weeks. That is one of the pluses of the COVID world that we are in now is we get some extra practice opportunities in there.”


The Irish will head down to Louisville for the Louisville Classic at noon ET on Saturday, Oct. 3.


Irish Classic
Burke Golf Course
Notre Dame, Ind.
Sept. 19, 2020
Women’s 5K  – Team
1. Notre Dame 15
2. Louisville 46

Women’s 5K – Individual Top Five ND Finishers
1. Jessica Schneider 16:59.21
2. Erin Archibeck 17:04.27
3. Maddy Denner 17:09.34
4. AnnaSophia Keller 17:11.19
5. Erin Strzelecki 17:13.16

Men’s 5-Mile – Team
1. Notre Dame 15
2. Louisville 50

Men’s 5-Mile – Individual Top Five ND Finishers
1. Yared Nuguse 24:06.92
2. Andrew Alexander 24:09. 84
3. Dylan Jacobs 24:09.87
4. Danny Kilrea 24:12.25
5. Joshua Methner 24:12.98