Oct. 30, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – During her time at the University of Notre Dame, Molly Seidel has accumulated one of the most impressive resumes in the history of the school’s track & field and cross country programs. Last season, she became the first Notre Dame woman to capture an individual track & field national championship, winning the 10,000-meter event at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships. During the 2014-15 campaign alone, she was named a cross country All-American, two-time track & field All-American and three-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion.
Now, Seidel can add another ACC title to her list.
Seidel, a senior from Harland, Wisconsin, pulled away from the competition in the women’s 6k-championship event Friday morning at the 2015 ACC Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Florida State at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida.
Overall, the Notre Dame women placed third with 96 points. Virginia won the team title among a field that featured five nationally ranked squads. On the men’s side, Notre Dame posted a sixth-place finish with a team score of 147 points. Syracuse repeated as the team champion in the men’s 8k event.
“This one was really special,” Seidel said. “It was my fourth cross country conference championship meet, and it was a cool and bittersweet way to finish it up. It was especially great to be able to come to the ACC championships and represent Notre Dame well. To have four girls finish in the top-21 and earn All-ACC honors was icing on the cake. It was a very cool day for us, both individually and as team.”
The title-winner was not the only member of the Fighting Irish squad earning headlines. A true team effort, the veteran finished just ahead of freshman standout Anna Rohrer. The pair became the first female teammates to finish one-two at the ACC championships since Duke’s Shannon Rowbury and Clara Horowitz in 2005.
Seidel and Rohrer started their pursuit early, both in front of the pack at the 3k mark. The duo continued this trend at 5k, and ultimately concluded the race in the same fashion. A time of 19:36.2 won the title for Seidel, while Rohrer registered a time of 20.08.3 for second place.
“Through probably the first half or so, Anna (Rohrer) and I were working well together,” Seidel said. “We kept it pretty controlled. We wanted to get out fast and assert ourselves from the start. Probably at the halfway point, I was feeling really good so I started opening it up a bit and cruising. I wanted to go my own pace and have a little fun out there.
“Turning around and seeing Anna blow away the rest of the competition was so cool,” Seidel continued. “It’s always special seeing your teammates do well and to see Anna finish so well as a freshman is really, really awesome. I’m looking forward to her future on our team.”
A native of Mishawaka, Indiana, Rohrer arrived at Notre Dame following a celebrated prep career. She was named National Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year during her senior season at Mishawaka High School. Since then, Rohrer has been adjusting to collegiate life with the guidance of her coaches and teammates.
“It’s really nice to have things go right because it seems like a lot of times there are so many challenges managing the lifestyle of being a student-athlete,” Rohrer said. “It’s great to be able to have running as a constant. It is something I can do everyday that I love and I still have a lot of success. It pushes me to do well in all other aspects of life.”
Michael Clevenger, a senior from Decatur, Illinois, was the top finisher for the Notre Dame men, earning 13th in an 8k time of 23:58.4. Clevenger greatly improved on his 21st overall finish at the ACC championships last season, picking up All-ACC accolades as a senior.
“The men ran a solid race from the first to fifth guy,” Notre Dame associate head coach Matt Sparks said. “I was especially excited with the way Jacob Dumford ran. If we are going to continue to compete at national level we need all five to continue to improve for the regional meet in two weeks.”
Following Clevenger on the men’s unit was senior Timothy Ball. A leader for the Irish this season, Ball posted a 26th-place finish in a time of 24:26.7. Dumford and Chris Marco, both members of the junior class, were next to cross the line with marks of 24:35.0 (32nd) and 24:38.8 (36th), respectively. In a time of 24:50.1, sophomore Kevin Pulliam placed 40th overall. Also representing the Irish were Anthony Williams and Brent Kennedy, who garnered 52nd and 61st, respectively.
“Molly (Seidel) and Anna (Rohrer) ran with a lot of confidence today and led from the gun,” Sparks said. “The two that really stepped up for the women today were Karen Lesiewicz and Rachel DaDamio. Karen has been a great leader for us all fall and it was good to see her earn her first All-ACC award.”
Lesiewicz, a senior this season, was the third team member to cross the line in the women’s race. Finishing in a time of 20:38.7, Lesiewicz claimed 16th place overall. Freshman Rachel DaDamio followed with a time of 20:45.3 for a 21st-place showing. Annie Heffernan, a freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio, placed 56th with a time of 21:47.9, while sophomore Sydney Foreman (70th; 22:13.8) and freshman Ella Fennelly (75th; 22:17.4) rounded out the scoring effort.
Top Notre Dame Finishers:
Men – Championship (8k)
13. Michael Clevenger (23:58.4)
26. Timothy Ball (24:26.7)
32. Jacob Dumford (24:35.0)
36. Chris Marco (24:38.8)
40. Kevin Pulliam (24:50.1)
52. Anthony Williams (25:01.7)
61. Brent Kennedy (25:20.3)
Women – Championship (6k)
1. Molly Seidel (19:36.2)
2. Anna Rohrer (20:08.3)
16. Karen Lesiewicz (20:38.7)
21. Rachel DaDamio (20:45.3)
56. Annie Heffernan (21:47.9)
70. Sydney Foreman (22:13.8)
75. Ella Fennelly (22:17.4)
– by Ashley Albertson, Athletics Communications Assistant Director