Notre Dame's Rohrer 17th in nation

Tim Creason
Tribune Correspondent

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Given the high expectations that have followed Anna Rohrer throughout her running career, winning another All-America award seems almost passe’.

And that’s the problem. The Notre Dame senior has been so excellent, for so long, that finishing 17th at Saturday’s NCAA women’s cross country championships seemed like an off-day.

And that’s just crazy.

“The biggest thing I would say about Anna’s career, from high school through college, is that whatever Anna’s got on that day, that’s what you’re going to see in the final result,” said Notre Dame women’s cross country coach Matt Sparks.

“You can’t say that about everybody,” Sparks said. “When it comes time to race, it’s never a case that her head’s not in it. Whatever her body has to give, that’s what you’re going to see on the course.”

In her final collegiate cross country race — at the end of another injury-marred season that included plantar fasciitis and sciatic nerve issues — the Mishawaka native took her usual early lead, tried to hang on as New Mexico’s Weini Kelati surged away from the field, then slipped and slid her way across the finish line in 17th place.

In doing so she earned All-America honors in cross country for a fourth time. She’s the only woman in Notre Dame history to do that.

Kelati, a junior, finished first, clocking 19 minutes, 47.5 seconds on a 6,000-meter (3.9-mile) course at the Wabash Valley Sports Center in Terre Haute. Second-place Alicia Monson from Wisconsin came across in 19:57.1.

Rohrer finished in 20:28.3.

Steady rain and frigid winds turned Indiana State University’s home — the same course where Rohrer had so much success when she was a student at Mishawaka High School — into a muddy mess.

“The footing was really bad and I had a hard time moving up,” said Rohrer, speaking for basically every runner in the field.

Though there were times this season when her injuries could have forced her to hang it up, her last week of practice went pretty well. Rohrer was determined to make her final cross country race a good one.

“This is the best I’ve been feeling in a long time and so I gave it my best shot,” said Rohrer, who was a two-time Foot Locker national champion in high school.

“Every time I race, everyone knows I’m going to fight with everything I have,” she said.

On Saturday, she was at her best for about 3,000-meters, before starting a slow slide back.

“Obviously I wanted a better result, but that was the best I had,” she said.

Only 22 women in NCAA history can claim to have finished among the top 10 at the championship meet three times. Rohrer is one of those, having finished sixth as a freshman, third as a sophomore and 10th as a junior.

She was hoping to become only the second woman to finish among the top 10 four times, but missed that mark by eight seconds. Without the injuries this season, she probably would have done it.

No matter, she said. Rohrer helped her team get back to the NCAA finals, where the Irish women — ranked 19th coming in — finished 15th with 415 points.

“That means a lot,” she said.

Arkansas won the women’s team title with 96. Michigan finished 13th and Indiana University was 19th.

Maddy Denner, a freshman, was the second Notre Dame women’s finisher, placing 81st in 21:07.7. Jacqueline Gaughan was 119th in 21:21.9.

ND men 8th

Notre Dame’s men finished their season on a high note, finishing eighth in the team standings with 269 points, their best showing in over a decade.

Brigham Young University placed three runners among the top 21 finishers and scored 109 points to upset defending champ Northern Arizona (163) for the team title. BYU, by the way, was second in the women’s race as well.

Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat won the men’s individual title, finishing the 10,000-meter course in a relatively slow 30:32.7. Mud had a lot to do with that. He finished about four seconds ahead of Colorado’s Joe Klecker.

Freshman Dylan Jacobs led Notre Dame with a 29th place finish in 31:12.9. Yared Nuguse was 46th and Danny Kilrea 50th.

Every member of Notre Dame’s team is an underclassman, a fact not lost on Irish men’s coach Sean Carlson.

“We’re moving the needle forward,” said Carlson. “We return everyone on our roster next year, we’re just going to continue to get better.”

Early in the race, Kilrea — a sophomore who earned All-America honors last season — could be seen running in the lead pack, around ninth place.

“I felt really good the first 6K, so I just decided to take the pack,” said Kilrea. “Later on, I found Dylan and Yared, so I just wanted to keep fighting for them.”

WOMEN

(6,000 meters)

TEAM SCORES: Arkansas 96, BYU 102, Stanford 123, New Mexico 168, North Carolina State 190, Michigan State 209, Wisconsin 235, Air Force 259, Furman 290, Colorado 294, Washington 296, Florida State 308, Michigan 395, Northern Arizona 406, Notre Dame 415, Utah 471, Boise State 474, Penn State 482, Indiana 509, Boston College 514, Ole Miss 541, Illinois 549, Ohio State 566, Villanova 575, Tulsa 584, Oregon 618, Columbia 624, Minnesota 691, Cornell 693, Texas 713, Harvard 787.

TOP 25 FINISHERS: 1, Weini Kelati (New Mexico) 19:47.5. 2, Alicia Monson (Wisconsin) 19:57.1. 3, Katie Izzo (Arkansas) 19:59.3. 4, Taylor Werner (Arkansas) 20:11.1. 5, Courtney Wayment (BYU) 20:16.1. 6, Erica Birk (BYU) 20:16.1. 7, Whittni Orton (BYU) 20:17.0. 8, Ella Donaghu (Stanford) 20:17.9. 9, Ednah Kurgat (New Mexico) 20:18.4. 10, Elly Henes (NC State) 20:20.7. 11, Jessica Lawson (Stanford) 20:24.6. 12, Melany Smart (Washington) 20:24.8. 13, Savannah Carnahan (Furman) 20:25.1. 14, Joyce Kimeli (Auburn) 20:26.2. 15, Cailie Logue (Iowa State) 20:26.8. 16, Molly Born (Oklahoma St) 20:28.2. 17, Anna Rohrer (Notre Dame) 20:28.3. 18, Taylor Somers (Oklahoma St) 20:30.0. 19, Aoibhe Richardson (San Francisco) 20:30.1. 20, Gabrielle Jennings (Furman) 20:39.1. 21, Devin Cark (Arkansas) 20:32.2. 22, Kelsey Chmiel (NC State) 20:32.5. 23, Hannah Steelman (Wofford) 20:32.6. 24, Egle Morenaite (Iona) 20:32.6. 25, Ericka VanderLende (Michigan) 20:32.8.

OTHER NOTRE DAME: 81, Maddy Denner 21:07.7 … 119, Jacqueline Gaughan 21:21.9 … 143, Olivia Makezich 21:35.2 … 178, Jocelyn Long 21:52.1 … 197, Erin Archibeck 22:04.2 … 203, Annasophia Keller 22:07.0.

MEN

(10,000 meters)

TEAM SCORES: BYU 109, Northern Arizona 163, Colorado 164, Iowa State 211, Tulsa 243, Stanford 248, Michigan 250, Notre Dame 269, Oregon 307, Portland 314, Purdue 338, Iona 348, Indiana 367, Furman 379, Harvard 384, Utah State 428, Virginia Tech 451, Wisconsin 462, Washington 466, Virginia 468, Boise State 525, Ole Miss 535, Villanova 556, Alabama 582, Texas 588, North Carolina State 605, Syracuse 610, Georgetown 676, Florida State 694, Arkansas 728, Middle Tennessee State 865.

TOP 25 FINISHERS: 1, Edwin Kurgat (Iowa State) 30:32.7. 2, Joe Klecker (Colorado) 30:37.1. 3, Conner Mantz (BYU) 30:40.0. 4, Peter Seufer (Virginia Tech) 30:40.1. 5, Vincent Kiprop (Alabama) 30:43.5. 6, Cooper Teare (Oregon) 30:49.2. 7, John Dressel (Colorado) 30:52.2. 8, Amon Kemboi (Campbell) 30:55.9. 9, Gilbert Kigen (Alabama) 30:57.2. 10, Jaret Carpenter (Purdue) 30:58.7. 11, Patrick Dever (Tulsa) 30:59.4. 12, Kyle Mau (Indiana) 31:00.0. 13, Peter Lynch (Tulsa) 31:04.3. 14, Christian Allen (Weber State) 31:04.9. 15, Euan Makepeace (Butler) 31:04.9. 16, Devin Meyrer (Michigan) 31:05.2. 17, Daniel Carney (BYU) 31:05.7. 18, Oliver Hoare (Wisconsin) 31:08.2. 19, Athanas Kioko (Campbell) 31:09.1. 20, Waleed Suliman (Ole Miss) 31:09.6. 21, Jacob Heslington (BYU) 31:10.5. 22, Drew Bosley (No Arizona) 31:10.8. 23, Morgan Beadlescomb (Michigan State) 31:10.9. 24, Curt Eckstein (Purdue) 31:11.2. 25, Alex Ostberg (Stanford) 31:11.6.

NOTRE DAME FINISHERS: 29, Dylan Jacobs 31:12.9 … 46, Yared Nuguse 31:28.7 … 50, Danny Kilrea 31:30.8 … 67, Andrew Alexander 31:38.6 … 122, Matthew Carmody 32:07.7 … 129, Kevin Salvano 32:11.9 … 130, Brendan Frazier 32:12.7.

Notre Dame senior Anna Rohrer (325) leads the field through the one-mile mark Saturday during the NCAA women’s cross country championships in Terre Haute, Ind. At right is New Mexico’s Weini Kelati (294), the eventual champion. Rohrer earned All-America honors in cross country for the fourth time with a 17th place finish.