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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Men’s cross country records perfect score in season opening meet

The Notre Dame men’s and women’s cross country teams kicked off their season this past weekend at the Winrow-Valparaiso Open.

Despite holding out their top runners from the race, the men’s team had a very stellar performance and recorded a perfect score at the meet.

The top five finishers for the men in the 6K were senior Zach Kreft who finished with a time of 18:30.6, followed closely by junior Quinn Gallagher at 18:30.7. Then, junior Henry Chapman, sophomore Lisandro Berry-Gaviria and sophomore Carter Solomon all crossed the finish line within the same tenth of a second at 18:31.0, a feat not terribly common in a cross country race.

Notre Dame men’s head coach Sean Carlson was very pleased with his team’s ability to run in a pack and finish the race together.

“It was good to see our younger guys gaining more experience in running the Notre Dame way. The Notre Dame way is to run as a team. We did a really good job of that,” Carlson said.

The course was pretty flat, which, due to the lack of having to change their running form or pace for hills, made for fast times.

“It was a pretty flat course. It rained a little bit, so the grass was wet, but the conditions overall were very nice,” Carlson said.

Carlson was happy with the way his team stuck to the race strategy.

“They went out really patient and sat behind Purdue’s pack for the first half of the race, so the pacing was really even,” Carlson said.

Carlson was very pleased with the race of redshirt freshman Carter Solomon.

“He looked really good, and it was good to see him racing for us,” Carlson said. “In the future, I think he can be a big guy for us.”

This was the first meet that spectators had been allowed at since the fall season of 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carlson described what it was like to have spectators back.

“It was really good to see people’s parents able to watch the meet and friends able to come out to the meet which didn’t exist a year ago,” Carlson said. “For the guys, it’s important to have your support system there to cheer you on. I think a lot of guys really appreciated that.”

The men’s team will be back in action at the National Catholic Invite in two weeks where there will be some more upperclassmen running, but the top runners for the Irish will not be racing until October.

The women’s team also competed on Friday and took second place to Purdue in the team scores. The women were led by graduate student Maddie King, who placed second overall with a time of 17:27.4 in the 5K. The other top five finishers for the Irish included senior Jackie Gaughan (18:08.8), graduate student Erin Sullivan (18:11.6), graduate student Kaitlin Ryan (18:15.9) and sophomore Isalina Colsman (18:26.8).