Kurt Benninger and the Irish cross country teams hope to keep their momentum going this weekend at the Great Lakes Regional.  The Notre Dame men won the BIG EAST title two weeks ago, while the women placed second.

Notre Dame To Run At Great Lakes Regional On Saturday

Nov. 11, 2004

NOTRE DAME, IND. – The sixth-ranked Notre Dame women’s cross country team is looking to capture its third straight Great Lakes Regional title this weekend, while the No. 5 men’s squad hopes to post another victory after winning the BIG EAST title two weeks ago. Both teams will take to the Eagle Crest Golf Course in Ypsilanti, Mich. on Saturday, Nov. 13 to compete among other top teams from the region. The women race at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) and the men run at 12:15 p.m.

GREAT LAKES FIELD: The men’s event features the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers. “Wisconsin is No. 1 and have been there all year and they deserve it,” said Irish men’s head coach Joe Piane. Indiana (#10), Butler (#13) and Michigan (#23) will be among the field of 32 teams battling it out for a chance to go to the NCAA Championships.

Along with Notre Dame three other teams in the field of 34 are ranked in the top-25 going into the women’s race. Michigan tops the list of competitors at No. 4, while Michigan State is 13th and Illinois is 16th.

NOTRE DAME LINEUP: The Irish women will send out Katie DeRusso, Lauren King, Stephanie Madia, Jean Marinangeli, Kerry Meagher, Maggie Nelsen, Sunni Olding and Elizabeth Webster. Defending regional champion Molly Huddle will not compete as she is resting a sore foot. King and Meagher finished seventh and eighth, respectively, at last year’s race, while Madia placed 15th and is coming off a 10th-place showing at the BIG EAST Championships. The Irish women were second at the conference meet and Olding posted the top freshman time in the race to finish 12th overall.

“We hope to finish in the top-two and become and automatic qualifier for the NCAAs,” stated Notre Dame women’s head coach Tim Connelly. “We’ve been in the top-two for the past three years and our kids are focused and looking to make it four years in-a-row. That is our goal.”

On the men’s side, Notre Dame will run Vincent Ambrico, AJ Andrassy, Kurt Benninger, Ryan Johnson, Tim Moore, Sean O’Donnell, Kaleb Van Ort and Austin Weaver. Moore, Benninger, Van Ort and O’Donnell finished sixth through ninth at the BIG EAST Championships to help lead the Irish to victory. Moore placed 15th at last year’s regional as Notre Dame was eighth overall.

“If we run like we did at the Notre Dame Invitational, pre-nationals and the BIG EAST we should have no problem qualifying (for NCAAs) but we just need to reproduce that effort,” commented Piane. “We are healthy and the guys think we can run well and run with anyone in the country and that’s terrific.”

RESULTS: Results will be posted on the Eastern Michigan University web site approximately thirty minutes after the race at www.emich.edu/goeagles or you can go to www.trackshark.com.

CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFICATION: The top two teams and the top four individuals, not on one of those teams (providing they finish in the top 25) will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held on November 22, 2004 at Indiana State University. On Sunday, Nov. 14 the NCAA Division I Track and Field Committee will select 13 at large teams and two at large individuals from the NCAA’s nine regions. Thirty-one teams and 38 individuals will qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships. For additional information please log onto www.und.com or call the Notre Dame athletics hotline at (574) 631-3000.

— ND –