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Runners Rise in the Rankings

Oct 5, 2012, 11:12 AM EDT

The Irish men’s and women’s cross country teams were rewarded for their impressive performances in last week’s Notre Dame Invitational. After finishing 3rd overall in the Men’s Blue Race, the men’s team took a tremendous leap in this week’s USTFCCCA rankings, jumping eleven places from No. 24 to No. 13. Meanwhile, the women’s team jumped from No. 20 to No. 16, following its 2nd place finish in the Women’s Blue Race.

Both teams revealed that they can compete with the top runners from across the nation, and look poised for continued success as the season moves forward. Next up for the Irish is the Wisconsin Invitational, which takes place next Friday, October 12, at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisc.

The meet will grant both the men and women opportunities to verify their new rankings. Among an elite field on the men’s side are six of the nation’s top-10 programs, including host and reigning national champion, No. 1 Wisconsin. The Irish are also looking to edge out No. 11 Princeton, who beat the men by the slightest of margins (four position points) for 2nd place in the Notre Dame Invitational.

The women will also face tough opposition, including five of the top-10 in the most recent women’s rankings. The Irish runners looked determined last week, finishing with a balanced pack led by junior Kelly Curran, who placed 15th overall with a time of 17:02. Their 2nd place finish, runner-up only to a dominant Florida State team that rose to No. 1 this week, was their best placement in the Invitational since 2003.

Rankings can mean very little until a team can back up the recognition it is receiving. For the Irish, their rises in the rankings are a nice confirmation of their hard work so far this season. However, as the runners would readily admit themselves, there is still a long way to go to achieve the ultimate goal of a No. 1 ranking.

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