Nov. 10, 2017
By Megan Golden
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams concluded the Great Lakes Regional in ninth and sixth place, respectively. The Irish, racing at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, fell shy of qualifying automatically and will have to await the NCAA’s at-large selections.
The women, led by junior Annie Heffernan’s 16th-place finish (20:58), concluded the 6,000m race in sixth overall as a team with 188 points. Notre Dame wrapped up behind Michigan (71 points), Michigan State (87 points), Wisconsin (93 points), Eastern Michigan (146 points) and Indiana (148 points).
Freshman AnnaSophia Keller (21:08) placed 26th in her first Great Lakes Regional meet, recording a time just five seconds away from a personal record. Junior co-captain Rachel DaDamio (37th, 21:23) and seniors Jessica Harris (42nd, 21:25) and Kaitlin Frei (67th, 21:52) rounded out the top five finishers.
“The women fought hard today,” Notre Dame associate head coach Matt Sparks said. “This was our most complete team race of the year. We were able to beat a good Ohio State team that is currently ranked No. 25 in the country.
“Now, we need to wait and see how the at-large invitation process to the NCAA Championships plays out.”
The men’s team ran to a ninth-place finish as a team, totaling 239 points at the meet. Freshman Yared Nuguse (31:24) recorded a time of 31:24 in his first career 10,000m race, finishing 19th individually. Senior co-captain Kevin Pulliam (31:58) finished 42nd, and senior Brent Kennedy (32:11) came in 52nd.
“Yared had a good day,” Irish assistant coach Sean Carlson said. “All-Region and one of the top freshman in the region is a good cap on the year.”
Irish freshman Vincent Zona recorded a time of 32:16 and came in 58th overall. He was followed by sophomore Tyler Keslin, who raced to 68th place with a 32:26 mark.
“We have a very young men’s team and hope these guys gained experience today to make a big jump going into this meet a year from now,” Carlson said.
The Irish await the official selection of at-large bids to the NCAA Championships, which will be announced at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 11.
The NCAA Championships are scheduled for noon ET on Nov. 18 at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. In addition to the automatic qualifiers (top two finishers from each region), there also are 13 at-large bids, which are granted following the completion of all regional competition.
Overall, the men’s team has qualified in 23 regional meets, while the women have qualified in 15 regional meets all-time, including qualifying in six straight meets.
Top Irish Finishers
19. Yared Nuguse – 31:24
42. Kevin Pulliam – 31:58
52. Brent Kennedy – 32:11
58. Vincent Zona – 32:16
68. Tyler Keslin – 32:26
75. Bradley Wattleworth – 32:38
92. Brian Griffith – 32:56
16. Annie Heffernan – 20:58
26. AnnaSophia Keller – 21:08
37. Rachel DaDamio – 21:23
42. Jessica Harris – 21:25
67. Kaitlin Frei – 21:52
84. Claudia Magnussen – 22:12
117. Kelly Hart – 22:47
For behind-the-scenes coverage of the Irish cross country program, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter and @NDXCTF on Instagram.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.