Sept. 4, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Fourteen student-athletes on the Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams will make the trip down to Valparaiso, Ind., for the Crusader Open tomorrow, Sept. 5.
Newly appointed associate head coach Matt Sparks will lead the distance runners for the first time, and as he has been with the Irish for less than a month, Sparks says that the meet is an opportunity for him to see how younger members of the squads compete.
“For me, it’s kind of an exhibition for the freshmen and sophomores to show where they are,” Sparks explains. “I’ve got a better grasp on the upperclassmen and where their levels are, so they’re going to take this weekend to train and get better for the bigger meets later in the season. The Crusader Open is to see where those younger kids are and to see if they can earn a varsity spot.”
Sparks says that he already finds himself impressed with the student-athletes on the team, noting that many of them enter the school year with good summers of training under their belts.
“Friday is going to be a good indicator of where they’re going to contribute down the road,” he adds. “The meet is a part of a bigger picture. We’re looking at where they are on September 5, but then use that as a base to allow them to grow for two or three years within the program.”
The women’s race gets underway at the Sunset Hills Park in Valparaiso at 6 p.m. (ET) with the men’s race to follow at 6:45 p.m.
Elli Brady, Lourdes Brea, Sydney Foreman, Kaitlin Frei, Catherine Lombardo
–Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant