Nov. 9, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With a spot to the NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on the line, the Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams head to Toledo, Ohio, this weekend for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships.
The Saturday races will be held at Ottawa Park in Toledo with the men’s 10K set for 12 p.m. (ET) and the women’s 6K following at 1:15 p.m. (ET).
The top two teams from each race will earn an automatic spot in the NCAA National Championships scheduled for Nov. 21, while the remaining teams will hope to be one of the 13 at-large teams that complete both the men’s and women’s field.
Notre Dame has found great success in the past at the Great Lakes Regionals, as the men’s team has used the race to qualify for 20 NCAA Championships, while the women have qualified for nine. The men have won the race four times, with the last coming in 2001. The women have won three times, with the last coming two years ago in 2009.
Last year the men finished third and the women sixth; with the men earning an at-large spot to the NCAA Championships.
“It’s been our goal all year to finish in the top two at regionals and earn a spot in the NCAA Championships,” said women’s head coach Tim Connelly. “To do that we will have to beat some really good teams. Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State are all really good teams in the Big Ten. Right now we have a team that is healthy and fit and ready to perform well.”
“The top eight spots are wide open and we have to run as a team to try and get in that upper four,” said men’s head coach Joe Piane. “If we can do that we should have a good shot at making it to the NCAAs with some of the teams we have beaten this year. All we can control is what we do at our meet. We need our three, four and five runners to move up and get in position to score low points for us to have a good shot at finishing in the top four.”
The Irish are coming off a pair of sixth-place finishes at the BIG EAST Championships, in which a total of 10 nationally ranked teams competed between the two races. Sophomore Martin Grady and junior Jeremy Rae earned all-BIG EAST accolades after finishing 10th and 12th, respectively.
Junior Jessica Rydberg has paced the women’s team all season, finishing first on the team in all five races, including an 18th-place finish at the BIG EAST Championships, missing all-conference accolades by just three spots.
Men’s Teams (Regional Ranking Followed by National Ranking)
Akron; Bowling Green; Butler (No. 7); Central Michigan (No. 11); Cincinnati (No. 14); Dayton; Detroit Mercy; Eastern Michigan (No. 6); Evansville; Indiana (No. 2, No. 7); Indiana State (No. 9); IPFW; IUPUI; Kent State (No. 13); Marquette (No. 12); Miami (OH); Michigan (No. 3, No. 19); Michigan State (No. 8); Notre Dame (No. 5); Oakland; Ohio (No. 15); Ohio State (No. 4, No. 28); Purdue (No. 10); Toledo; Valparaiso; Wisconsin (No. 1, No. 1); Wisconsin-Green Bay; Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Wright State; Xavier; Youngstown State
Women’s Teams (Regional Ranking Followed by National Ranking)
Akron; Ball State; Bowling Green; Butler (No. 12); Central Michigan (No. 7); Cincinnati; Cleveland State; Dayton (No. 13); Detroit Mercy; Eastern Michigan (No. 11); Evansville; Indiana (No. 8); Indiana State; IPFW; IUPUI; Kent State; Marquette; Miami (OH) (No. 9); Michigan (No. 2, No. 15); Michigan State (No. 1, No. 12); Notre Dame (No. 3, No. 24); Oakland; Ohio (No. 10); Ohio State (No. 6); Purdue (No. 14); Toledo (No. 5); Valparaiso; Western Michigan; Wisconsin (No. 4); Wisconsin-Green Bay; Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Wright State; Xavier (No. 15); Youngstown State