Nov. 13, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It was a defining day for the University of Notre Dame cross country program. Competing at the 2015 NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Madison, Wisconsin, a pair of Fighting Irish women – Molly Seidel and Anna Rohrer – claimed first and second place in the women’s 6k championship event, while the women’s team earned an automatic qualification for the NCCA championships with a runner-up showing. The men, who garnered a fourth-place standing, will wait for the at-large qualification process to determine their championship fate.
The tandem of Seidel and Rohrer put on a repeat performance of their one-two finish at the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. The pair led for a majority of the race, trading positions between first and second throughout the mile markers.
Seidel, a senior from Hartland, Wisconsin, outlasted her rookie teammate, Rohrer, down the stretch to earn the regional title in a time of 20:04.4. The All-American continues adding to her impressive resume this season, after recently winning her fourth ACC title.
A local from Mishawaka, Indiana, Rohrer followed closely with a time of 20;18.4, outlasting Michigan State’s Alexis Wiersma, Wisconsin ‘s Shaelyn Sorensen and Michigan’s Erin Finn, who rounded out the top-five finishers.
As a unit, the Notre Dame women’s contingent trailed Michigan (69 pooints), but downed Michigan State (88), Wisconsin (138) and Purdue (156) with 79 points to earn the automatic qualification to the NCAA championships.
“This was a big step for the women. We competed stride for stride with two of the best teams in country,” Notre Dame associate head coach Matt Sparks said. “It is nice to have the automatic bid and not have to wait for the selection process.”
The 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships will take place next Saturday (Nov. 21) in Louisville, Kentucky.
Also earning an individual bid to the premier meet was Notre Dame’s Michael Clevenger. A senior from Decatur, Illinois, Clevenger registered an impressive third-place finish in a 10k time of 30:21.5.
The Fighting Irish men will not know their fate until Saturday, when the at-large decision process is complete.
“The entire men’s team really accepted the challenge today. Our senior leaders, Clevenger and Timothy Ball, stepped up like you would expect them to,” Sparks said. “Michael will be making a return trip to the NCAA meet, but we will have to wait for the at-large team process to run its course.”
As Sparks noted, Ball placed 13th among the highly competitive with a time of 30:57.4. Kevin Pulliam (28th, 31:.27.4), Jacob Dumford (39th, 31:39.9) and Brent Kennedy (44th, 31:49.4) made up the Irish top-five finishers.
On the women’s side, Rachel DaDamio finished in a time of 21:02.6 for 21st place, while senior anchor Karen Lesiewicz took 27th with a mark of 21:14.3. Freshman Annie Herrernan stepped up, rounding out the Irish top-five in 21:14.9.
“We finally ran a complete race with a strong top-five finish,” Sparks said. “A big key to our success today was Heffernan. She has had some breathing problems all fall but seems to finally have that under control.”
Top Notre Dame Finishers:
Women – Championship (6k)
1. Molly Seidel (20:04.4)
2. Anna Rohrer (20:18.4)
21. Rachel DaDamio (21:02.6)
27. Karen Lesiewicz (21:14.3)
28. Annie Heffernan (21:14.9)
36. Ashlyn Rambo (21:25.6)
151. Ella Fennelly (23:29.8)
Men – Championship (10k)
3. Michael Clevenger (30:21.5)
13. Tim Ball (30:57.4)
28. Kevin Pulliam (31:27.4)
39. Jacob Dumford (31:39.9)
44. Brent Kennedy (31:49.4)
48. Chris Marco (31:52.9)
131. Anthony Williams (33:27.6)
– by Ashley Albertson, Athletics Communications Assistant Director