Notre Dame cross country: Grady is 35th in nationals

TIM CREASON
SBT Correspondent

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Success in a cross country race isn’t just a matter of beating other runners.

You’ve got to beat the elements, as well.

Martin Grady did that Saturday, at least enough that the Notre Dame senior earned All-America honors at the NCAA men’s cross country championships.

He placed 35th out of 253 finishers, and, really, was the only Notre Dame athlete who walked away with a positive feeling.

Notre Dame’s men finished 23rd out of 31 teams. The Irish women were 29th.

Grady’s time in the 10,000-meter race — 30:43.3 — wasn’t the fastest he’s ever run, but truthfully, nobody was running particularly fast at the Wabash Valley Sports Center in Terre Haute.

Heavy rains Friday left Indiana State University’s home course a muddy mess. Frigid, gusting winds buffeted athletes and spectators alike.

The mud — arrgh, the mud! — was deep and unavoidable. Organizers were forced to move the starting line 100 meters, actually shortening the race.

Colorado’s men and the women from Providence ended up claiming team titles.

At the same time, Dartmouth senior Abbey D’Agostino outsprinted Emma Bates of Boise State for the women’s individual championship. She clocked 20:00.3 on the women’s 6,000-meter course.

Oregon freshman Edward Cheserek — last year’s Foot Locker National High School Boys Champion — surged past Texas Tech’s Kennedy Kithuka with 2,000 meters remaining to take the men’s title, recording a 29:41.1.

Just as Notre Dame’s teams were not satisfied, neither were individual finishers with local ties.

LaPorte High School graduate Matt Miller — a senior at Belmont University — finished 180th among men. He clocked 32:07.2.

“It was rough out there, I mean, it was tough,” said Miller, who finished sixth at the South Region a week earlier. “Dealing with all the mud and the wind ... I just wasn’t used to being that far back.”

He said it was difficult to make a move in the most critical part of the race.

“Getting out was OK, but it’s from mile 2-1/2 to about 4 or 5, where you really gotta get your nose in there and start picking guys off,” said Miller. “I don’t think I did that very well, today.”

Columbia University junior Waverly Neer — a former state and national champion from Culver Academies — had just an awful day. She was 219th in the women’s race, clocking 22:16.3.

Another Culver Academies grad — Alejandro Arroyo, now a senior at Princeton — finished 73rd in the men’s race. He ran 31:03.5.

Notre Dame’s women were led by senior Kelly Curran, who finished 94th in 21:16.6. She was the only Irish runner to break into the top 100.

Alexa Aragon was 114th in 21:25.0. Molly Seidel was 171st and Emily Frydrych 231st.

“It was really bad. We just didn’t compete,” said Irish women’s coach Tim Connelly. “All season, we’ve got by on having ability but not toughness. Today, it hurt us big time.”

Butler University’s women proved they are the best program in Indiana, at least, finishing third overall, just three points out of second place.

Notre men’s coach Joe Piane was impressed with Grady’s race.

“Grady ran well,” said Piane. “He’s a 10,000 meter kid and this weather didn’t bother him a bit.”

Jeremy Rae finished 84th for the Irish, clocking 31:11.1. Michael Clevenger was 132nd and J.P. Mallette 145th.

“We could have run better,” said Piane. “C’mon, you’ve got to be disappointed with (23rd) when you know you could have been higher.”

Indiana University finished 8th in the men’s standings.

MEN

TEAM SCORES: Colorado 149, Northern Arizona 169, Oklahoma State 230, BYU 267, Oregon 274, Iona 284, Portland 293, Indiana 306, Wisconsin 326, Syracuse 329, New Mexico 334, Arkansas 340, Virginia 370, Texas 376, Eastern Kentucky 380, Providence 396, North Carolina 403, Villanova 415, Stanford 417, Air Force 419, Michigan 433, Princeton 469, Notre Dame 484, Dartmouth 551, Columbia 580, Colorado State 606, Tulsa 628, North Carolina State 630, Florida 654, Harvard 678, Georgia 690.

WOMEN

TEAM SCORES: Providence 141, Arizona 197, Butler 200, Michigan 215, Georgetown 226, Michigan State 236, Colorado 265, Florida State 278, Virginia 283, New Mexico 301, Stanford 322, William and Mary 326, Iowa State 333, Arkansas 340, Oregon 340, Dartmouth 369, Washington 375, San Francisco 385, Villanova 397, Minnesota 406, Wisconsin 489, Syracuse 516, Cornell 570, West Virginia 621, Penn State 640, Indiana 673, Vanderbilt 676, BYU 687, Notre Dame 688, Princeton 704, SMU 790.