The men's cross country team is ranked 23rd to open the 2011 season.

Notre Dame Men Ranked 23rd To Open Cross Country Season

Aug. 30, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its preseason cross country top 25 on Tuesday, and has the Notre Dame men’s team ranked 23rd to open the upcoming 2011 season.

The Irish, who finished 25th in the final poll last season, are one of six BIG EAST teams to receive a ranking in the top 30. Also ranked are No. 14 Syracuse, No. 17 Villanova, No. 18 Providence, No. 20 Louisville and No. 22 Georgetown. The six teams are tops in the country for any conference.

On Monday the Irish men were ranked fourth in the Great Lakes Region to open the season, tops among the BIG EAST teams that compete in the region. The Irish women’s squad was ranked sixth in the region to open the year.

Notre Dame kicks off the 2011 schedule this Friday, Sept. 2, when it heads to the Valparaiso Crusader Invitational in Valparaiso, Ind. The women have won the meet four straight seasons, while the men have claimed the two previous crowns. The women’s 5K race begins at 6 p.m. ET, with the men’s 6K race slated for 6:45 p.m. ET. Men’s head coach Joe Piane enters his 37th year as the head of the men’s squad, while Tim Connelly starts his 24th season as head coach of the women’s team. A full recap of the Valparaiso Crusader Invitational can be found at following Friday’s races.