Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 27, 2021

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

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Page 48 of 55 NOV. 27, 2021 49 BY TODD D. BURLAGE T he 2021 NCAA Cross Country Cham- pionships provided a mixed bag of results for the Notre Dame men's and women's teams Nov. 20 at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla. On the positive side, the Irish women outperformed their No. 10 national ranking with a fifth-place finish in the 6K race. NC State won the event and BYU finished second. On the disappointing side, the Notre Dame men — who returned six All- Americans from their national runner- up team last season and were ranked No. 4 nationally — finished only ninth. Powerhouse Northern Arizona won the men's championship, its fifth title in the last six years. Iowa State was the runner-up. For the Irish women, sophomore Maddy Denner paced the team with a ninth-place individual finish. Sopho- more Olivia Markezich was two spots behind in 11th. Both runners earned All- America honors. Notre Dame senior Lauren Bailey was 62nd and freshman Erin Strzelecki was 80th to round out the Lady Irish finish- ers inside the top 100. To illustrate how impressive this fifth-place team finish was for Notre Dame, it managed only a fifth-place finish in the ACC Championships Oct. 29 on their home course in South Bend. The women likely built some momen- tum the weekend before the champion- ship race after cruising to a team victory in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 12 in Evansville, Ind., when Denner and Markezich finished first and second, re- spectively. The Notre Dame women didn't com- pete at the NCAA Championships last season. The ninth-place finish for the Irish men was equal parts surprising as it was disheartening. Notre Dame dominated the Great Lakes Regional Nov. 12 — scoring all five of its runners in the top 11 — and it also recently won a second straight ACC title, but it couldn't wait for this NCAA Championship race to get over with. The Irish as a team led the meet through the first third of the 10K race, but dramatically and steadily dropped from there. After six Irish runners placed in the top-40 last season to earn All-America status — the most of any school in the nation — only junior Dylan Jacobs (11th) and junior Danny Kilrea (31st) earned the designation this sea- son. Irish junior Matthew Carmody fin- ished third for his team in 49th. Perhaps not fully recovered from the leg injury he suffered in the sum- mer, graduate student and distance star Yared Nuguse finished only 158th and didn't score for his team. But even with a disappointing final result, Jacobs explained that the lessons and experiences he gained as a Notre Dame student-athlete will ultimately serve him better than his cross country success. "I'm so fortunate to have an oppor- tunity to be at a place like Notre Dame, academically, athletically and socially. It's challenging, it's tough, it's what you want and it makes you better as an in- dividual." ✦ Cross Country Notches A Pair Of Top-10 Finishes At NCAA Championships Sophomore Maddy Denner helped the Fighting Irish to a fifth-place team finish and earned All- America honors by placing ninth individually at the NCAA Championships Nov. 20. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS ND SPORTS Irish Roundup FENCING Notre Dame opened the season at the Air Force Invitational Nov. 13 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and both the mean and women went 7-0, defeating Stanford, North Carolina, Incarnate Word, UC San Diego, NJIT, Air Force and Brandeis. HOCKEY (9-3-0 OVERALL, 3-2-0 BIG TEN) The No. 14-ranked Irish extended their winning streak to four games by defeating Wisconsin 5-1 and 3-0 in South Bend Nov. 12-13 … Notre Dame knocked off No. 1-ranked Michigan 3-2 in overtime Nov. 19 in Ann Arbor. MEN'S SOCCER (12-5-3 OVERALL, 4-2-2 ACC) No. 20 Notre Dame captured the program's first ACC title by defeating third-seeded and No. 11-ranked Duke 2-0 in the championship game Nov. 14 in Cary, N.C. … The Irish earned the No. 4 national seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA Championship … Notre Dame was slated to face Villanova in the second round Nov. 21 in South Bend. WOMEN'S SOCCER (14-5-2 OVERALL, 7-3-0 ACC) The third-seeded Irish defeated Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the first round of the NCAA Championship Nov. 8 in South Bend … Notre Dame defeated Purdue 4-3 on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw in two overtimes in the second round Nov. 19 in Fayetteville, Ark. … The Irish were set to face second-seeded Arkansas in a Sweet 16 matchup Nov. 21 in Fayetteville, Ark. VOLLEYBALL (11-14 OVERALL, 8-7 ACC) Notre Dame split a pair of home matches, beating NC State 3-0 Nov. 12 before falling 3-0 to Louisville Nov. 15. — Steve Downey

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