Women Look Strong In South Bend

Oct. 3, 2009


SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The UA men's and women's cross country teams faced their first true test of the season Saturday in South Bend, Ind. as they took part in the 54th Annual Notre Dame Invite at the Notre Dame Gold Course. The women pulled out a strong 11th place finished while the men were the victims of some unfortunate circumstances.


The top runners for the Wildcats only began their season two weeks ago at the smaller scale Dave Murray Invitational. Saturday, both teams faced off against some of the top squads in the nation with eight ranked schools competing in the men's 8000-meters and nine on the women's side – including the No. 1-ranked Washington Huskies.


The women were paced for the second meet in a row by junior Maggie Callahan, who took home a very strong 20th place, finishing the women's 5000-meter course in 17:10. Callahan finished second at home two weekends ago over the same distance in 17:05, showing her consistency in more ways than one early in the season.


Callahan, the most senior member of the team, was followed by freshmen Lauren Smith in 46th place. The high school Footlocker finalist finished in 17:33, after finishing fifth overall at the Dave Murray Meet.


Another freshman Wildcat in Cami Jackson was the third member of the UA team to finish, edging sophomore teammate Hanna Henson for 69th place. Both athletes finished in 17:43.


Freshman Jennifer Bergman wrapped up the scoring for the UA women, finishing 88th in 17:57 and further demonstrating just how valuable to youth on the team will be in the season to come.


Washington gave little doubt to their top ranking, as they swept the first four positions to win the overall team event. The race featured 178 athletes.


The men's side was forced to compete essentially without it's top three runners, leading to a much different story.


Sophomore Abdi Hassan was out with an illness while junior Victor Zazueta – the UA's top runner during his first two season – is out with an injury. Junior Mohamud Ige, who won the Dave Murray meet two weekends ago, was tripped at the outset of the race providing a scary scene for teammates and coaches as he was essentially trampled by the mass of bodies fighting for position early. Fortunately, Ige was not injured badly but was unable to finish the race.


This paved the way for freshman Noe Ramirez to lead the Wildcat team, as we was the first Wildcat across the line in 25:15. Zach Hauer, Jordan Mara, Dylan Fitzpatrick and Brian MacArthur also scored for the men, who finished 23rd when all was said and done.


Saturday only marks the start of the action for the UA things as the season really gets going in two weekends as the team heads back to Indiana to compete against even more quality competition at the NCAA Pre-National meet in Terre Haute.


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