Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 19, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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50 NOV. 19, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE T he three or so weeks from the end of October to the middle of November is the time college cross country runners from all over the na- tion wait for every year with conference meets, regional races and then the NCAA Championships coming in quick succession. Perhaps more than any year in recent history, the Notre Dame men and women are making good during the money stretch — at least so far. On a sunny morning in Boston Oct. 26, the Irish men claimed their first-ever ACC championship, while the Notre Dame women's team fell just one point shy of upsetting two-time defending champion North Caro- lina State for the title, settling for a second-place finish, which was still a best-ever placement for the Lady Irish in the league championships. "What an amazing day for both teams," Irish head cross country coach Matt Sparks said. Paced by sophomore Yared Nu- guse, the Notre Dame men placed three runners in the top 10. Nuguse finished third, covering the eight-kilo- meter course in a time of 23:48.8, fol- lowed closely behind by teammates Anthony Williams, a senior, who was sixth in 23:53.7 and freshman Danny Kilrea, who was 10th in 23:57.6. "This is about the men on this team," assistant coach Sean Carlson said. "… Two years and three months ago, I started with the men. We were 10th place at this event." The Irish men began the season un- ranked, but have worked their way to No. 10 in the National Coaches' poll, the highest ranking in more than a decade. Mirroring the men's race, the No. 18 Irish women also placed three runners in the top 10 of the league champion- ships. Senior Annna Rohrer was third, finishing her six-kilometer run in 20:19.2. Senior Rachel DaDamio was sixth in 20:33.8 and freshman Jackie Gaughan placed seventh in 20:38.1. These stellar conference champion- ship finishes for Notre Dame should serve as a momentum boost when the two teams try to chase down a place in the NCAA Championships Nov. 17 at the Zimmer Champion- ship Course on the University of Wis- consin campus. The top two finishing teams from last weekend's nine re- gional sites — Notre Dame competed in the Great Lakes Regional at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course Nov. 9 in Terre Haute, Ind. — earned automatic bids. The top 13 non-qualifying teams from around the coun- try will be sorted out and awarded at-large bids for the NCAA Championships. The Zimmer Championship Course is a trek the Irish men and women became familiar with Oct. 13 when they raced there for the Pre-Nationals. The Notre Dame women finished fourth in that event, while the men claimed fifth place. The Irish failed to qualify either team for the NCAA Champion- ships in 2017, but with the excellent momentum coming off the ACC meets, hopes seem much brighter in 2018. "This group is the true definition of a team," Carlson said. "I couldn't be prouder of this team and the work we've done together." ✦ Irish Roundup HOCKEY (4-3-1 OVERALL, 1-1-0 BIG TEN) The No. 6 Fighting Irish split a two-game series with No. 7 Ohio State Nov. 2-3. After a 1-0 loss in the opener, senior Joe Wegwerth's third-period goal gave the Irish a 2-1 win. Up next for Notre Dame is a four-game road trip, starting in Ann Arbor with two games against No. 14 Michigan Nov. 9-10 and followed by a two-game set at Michigan State Nov. 16-17. MEN'S SOCCER (10-6-2 OVERALL, 4-3-1 ACC) No. 18 Notre Dame was knocked out of the ACC Tournament with a 1-0 loss at Louisville Nov. 4. The Irish are awaiting the announcement of their seeding and opponent in the NCAA Tournament, which will begin Nov. 18. The selection show for the tournament will air at 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 12. MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING (3-4 OVERALL, 2-1 ACC) The No. 18 Fighting Irish split a tri-meet Nov. 2-3 in South Bend, beating Pitt 232-121 while falling to Virginia Tech 180-173. Notre Dame competed in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Nov. 10-11 in West Lafayette, Ind., before closing out the fall season at the Ohio State Fall Invitational Nov. 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio. WOMEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING (7-0-1 OVERALL, 4-0 ACC) No. 13 Notre Dame notched a pair of victories in a tri-meet Nov. 2-3 in South Bend, defeating Virginia Tech 256-97 and Pitt 255-98. The Irish women will join the men's squad at both the ACC/Big Ten Chal- lenge Nov. 10-11 and the Ohio State Fall Invitational Nov. 15-17. VOLLEYBALL (15-9 OVERALL, 9-5 ACC) The Fighting had their three-match winning streak snapped with a 3-1 home loss to Florida State Nov. 2, before bouncing back to post a 3-0 win over Miami Nov. 4. Notre Dame finishes the regular season with a four-match stretch of North Carolina State Nov. 9, at Florida State Nov. 11, versus Louis- ville Nov. 16 and at Duke Nov. 21. — David McKinney Cross Country Season Heating Up For The Red-Hot Irish The Fighting Irish men captured their first-ever ACC title in Boston Oct. 26. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

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