The men’s cross country team traveled to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday.
Three of the nation’s top 25 Division I teams were present, including No. 1 Stanford. The Cardinal stood up to its ranking, winning the meet with four runners in the top 10 of 174 runners.
“This meet was a very large step up,” head coach Curtiss LongCQ said. “You had many of the top teams in the country.”
The meet was divided into an upper and lower division. Western placed last out of the 21 teams in the upper division, while 22 teams competed in the lower division.
“I would rather have that opportunity to race against good people than for us to protect ourselves and run in the lower-seeded race,” Long said. “I wouldn’t place them in a situation that was not in their best benefit just so we could score higher in the meet.”
Of the nine runners from Western, five were freshmen and none were seniors.
“Its totally different than the sports that win-loss records are critical for postseason competition.” Long said. “For us, this type of racing experience is critical for our long term.”
While the team did not place well, individual times improved, including several runners that ran personal bests, particulary Daniel Roberts, who finished 94th in 26:15, and J.P. Joubert, who finished 148th in 27:11.
“When you analyze the times, you see that we’re making some progress,” Long said.
Notre Dame was the first of three straight weekends of quality competition. The women join the men this Saturday in Greenville, N.C., for the Pre-District III meet.
Reach Adam Eadens at [email protected]