November 1, 1996

Notre Dame Men’s Cross Country Finishes Fourth At Big East Cross Country Championships;Women Place Fifth

Jason Rexing and Joanna Deeter Earn Second-Place Finishes

BOSTON, Mass. — Heading into today’sBIG EAST Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park, Irish men’s crosscountry coach Joe Piane knew it would be close. Oh, how righthe was.

In the closest finish in the history of the championship -five points separated the top four teams – Providence College won itssecond straight championship as the Friars scored a 76, led by MichaelConnelly’s fifth-place finish. The 11-time BIG EAST championsentered the race ranked ninth nationally. Georgetown, ranked 13th inthis week’s poll, was second with 79 points.

Brook Kintz won thefive-mile race with a time of 23:49. St. John’s, which is un-ranked, finished a surprising third as the Red Storm had a score of 80 byplacing three runners in the top 10, including two top-five finishes byChris Graff (fourth) and Christian Fogarazzo (fifth).

Notre Dame, thirdin last’s year championship, finished fourth. The 12th-ranked Irish hadthree runners finish in the top 15 to earn all-BIG EAST honors. JasonRexing was second, eight seconds behind Kintz with a time of 23:57.

Derek Seiling, a fifth-place finisher at the ’95 championship, crossedthe finish line in eighth with a time of 24:06.

Matt Altoff, who earnedAll-America honors at last season’s NCAA championship, was 11th with atime of 24:13. Sophomore Tim Englehardt ran one of his best races of theseason as he was the fourth Irish runner to cross the finish line with a30th-place finish (24:44). Joe Dunlop was the fifthscoring Irish runner as he placed 32nd with a time of 24:52.

“We cameinto this championship believing that we had a good chance to win,” Piane said. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t win, because it was oneof our goals this season. Jason, Derek and Matt all ran strong races. Iwas very pleased with the way Tim Englehardt ran.”

The Irish womenimproved on their seventh-place finish a year ago as the 22nd-rankedNotre Dame squad finished fifth with a total of 123.

The Irish were led bytwo freshmen, Joanna Deeter and Nicole LaSelle. Deeter finished asurprising second in the 5,000 meter in her first BIG EAST test as shefinished second to two-time champion Marie McMahon. McMahon won therace with a time of 16:36, while Deeter, who made up considerabledistance at the end of the race, was second in 16:41. She and LaSelleearned all-BIG EAST honors as LaSelle finished 10th with a time of17:16.

No.1-ranked and defending NCAA champion Providence Collegewon its second straight BIG EAST title with a team score of 47. Georgetown, ranked seventh nationally, was second with a team total of58, followed by Villanova (72) and Boston College (103). The Wildcatswere second in this week’s national poll, while the Eagles were thefifth BIG EAST team to earn a ranking at number 12.

“We’ve got a veryyoung team,” head women’s coach Tim Connelly said, “but we were up tothe challenges today. We just keep getting better. Realistically, ourgoal this season was to finish in the top five and we did that. It’s a realconfidence-booster for our program to go up against so many good runnersat this meet and have two freshmen finish in the top 10.”

Mieki Walsh finished 32nd with a time of 18:02 as she was the thirdIrish runner to cross the finish line. Kelly Peterson was 38th with atime of 18:11. The fifth runner to score for Notre Dame was anotherfreshman, Erin Luby, who was 51st overall with a time of 18:42.

Both teamsreturn to action in two weeks on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the District IVChampionships in Champaign, Ill.