by Joseph Meginnes
The Notre Dame Invitational marked Todd Mobley’s first race in a Notre Dame uniform since last November.
The senior cross country harrier has been anxious to regain his form-a form that he has not had since encountering a number of set backs in the past year.
Last cross country season, Mobley came down with a stress reaction in his sacrum, a bone near the tailbone. After five frustrating weeks away from the team, he received a clean bill of health and returned for the last two meets of the year.
Mobley had more injury trouble during his indoor and outdoor track seasons.
“Last year was the only year in which injuries have hampered me, and hopefully it will be the last,” Mobley says
This season, Mobley feels 100 percent recovered from his ailments of the past, which bodes well for Irish cross country. The team will benefit greatly by having a former All-American leading the way.
The Irish hosted the Notre Dame Invitational last week, unveiling its top squad for the first time this season. Mobley and his teammates anxiously awaited the race.
“It will mostly be quiet confidence and strategy,” Mobley stated about his starting line mentality. “My summer and early season have been geared a little cautiously and will do a better job of peaking me for Districts and Nationals, so I don’t expect to do as well as I will at the end of the season. With that in mind, I hope to run a conservative race off the lead pack and see how I feel with a mile or two to go.”
Mobley wound up placing 15th in the meet, running an 8-kilometer time of 24:59 and finishing third on the team. The men’s squad took home the Invitational title, defeating two higher-ranked teams along the way.
The Notre Dame Invitational is the first of several big meets for the cross country team. Most of the team’s focus lies ahead on the Big East Championships, NCAA Regional, and NCAA Championship meet in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
“I am very optimistic,” Mobley says about the team’s chances. “This team has more potential than it even realizes. Our depth is amazing. If everyone stays healthy and continues to improve throughout the season, I can’t place a limit on how good we can do.”
At the very least, the team hopes to win the Big East meet and finish among the top ten teams in the nation.
Mobley’s individual goals are as high as those for the team, if not higher. His previous success at the national meet serves as justification for his ambition. As a freshman in 2000, he finished in 99th place. In his sophomore campaign he earned All-American status with a 38th place finish, and last year he battled his way into 80th place.
“When I cross the line at Cedar Falls, I want to be able to look back on my four years here and know that I gave it my all and helped the team do the best it could,” Mobley says.
Mobley is geared to finish his cross country career on a high note and prove to any non-believers that this Notre Dame team is one of the best in the country.