Oct. 4, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Proclaimed as one of the weekend's most competitive meets, Friday's Notre Dame Invitational did not fail to impress. Just out of sight of the legendary Notre Dame Stadium, eight of the top-ranked women's teams, and nine of the men's, took to the course for the 58th running of the prestigious meet. And in their midst was the Mizzou gold as the men and women ran to 11th and 18th place finishes, respectively, in the competitive fields. The men came in just behind current No. 26 Florida State, and beat out fellow-Midwest Regional competitors Illinois, Loyola, and Southern Illinois.
The Open Races
Before either of the varsity races took off, though, there came the combined open race. Both the men and the women held their own at the front of the pack throughout the five-mile and 5k courses, respectively.
Leading the way for the Tiger men was freshman Ian McGinn, who placed 10th in the field with a final time of 26:16.5. Next up for the Tigers was junior Chris Spudic and freshman Chandler Dye, who crossed in 26:28.2 and 26:33.8, respectively. Freshman Tom Rotondi was fourth in for the Tigers at 26:50.9, followed by freshman Tyler Rusboldt at 27:16.6.
In the women's open race the Tigers were led by junior Ali Ross, who placed sixth in the field with her 18:46.0 PR performance. Freshman Libby Luciani was next for the Tigers with an 18:54.2 performance, followed by freshman Bailey Hession at 19:00.3, junior Landon Wachter at 19:09.7, freshman Megan Cunningham at 19:26.4, and freshman Kayla Friesen at 19:43.0.
Women's Blue Division
“The women ran a really aggressive race. I was really proud of some of the confidence they showed early on,” said Head Coach Joe Lynn. “I was really happy with some of the things they showed today. This is a really confident group, but at the same time a really young group, and there is a lot of strength that we’re going to continue to build.”
Next up for the Tigers was the women's blue division 5k, where Mizzou came up against two of the top ten ranked teams in the nation with Florida State and Duke, as well as six other current top 30 teams. Leading the way for the black and gold was junior Liz Reida, who had a big season debut with her 17:56.4 performance, a mere three-seconds off of her PR. She placed 49th in the field, and was followed closely by freshman Kaitlyn Fischer at 50th overall. Fischer led the Tigers in the first two meets of the season, already earning an SEC Freshman of the Week nod for her early-season performances.
“It felt good to knock the rust off. I got out really fast so now it’s all about being able to finish it,” said Reida. “We worked really hard today. It was a tough day, and we were able to work well together and put up a good effort.”
Next up for the Tigers was junior Courtney Brown, whose 18:29.7 was good for a 102nd-place finish. Close behind was sophomore Sam Garrett in 109th with her 28-second PR of 18:32.4. Freshman Kaelyn Balch rounded out the Tigers' top five with an 18:37 finish for 114th.
Freshman Nicole Mello was another who made her season debut on Friday. She was the sixth finisher for the Tigers at 18:40.4. Rounding out the Mizzou performers was junior Courtney Wood at 18:53, freshman Kayla Wolf at 18:58, and freshman Brooke Wolfe at 19:27.
“Really from top to bottom it was a good team effort,” said Lynn. “We’re going to be good in November, that’s our focus. For these girls, especially as young as they are, it’s important to keep that in mind and keep progressing forward. Really happy with where we are if we continue to stay healthy and work hard.”
Men's Blue Division
The men's blue division finished up the day's events, with nine Tigers hitting the line for the five-mile course. First in for the black and gold was freshman T.J. Carey, whose impressive second performance this season had him at 30th overall with a final time of 25:00.2. Carey was the second Tiger across the line in his season debut last week at the Roy Griak Invitational, placing 41st in the competitive field.
“The men ran a really smart race. For a true freshman, T.J. Carey, to lead our team as talented as we are, that just shows that he’s on a whole new level,” said Lynn. “He wasn’t too far off the lead pack today, so for him to move up like he did with the caliber of runners who were in this race is something to be excited about moving forward.”
Junior Sam Dickerson was the next Tiger in at 60th-place with a 25:24.7 finish, followed by freshman Jordan Cook at 25:27.2 for 67th. Sophomore Evan Chiplock was fourth across the line in 25:36.7 for 79th overall, and freshman Dan Roe rounded out the top five with his 25:40 performance for 86th overall. Sophomore Tyler Schneider was next in 25:44.6, followed by sophomore Kenny Cushing in 26:02.3, freshman Drew White in 26:11.9, and senior Hayden Legg in 27:08.3.
“Our depth is our strength, so we have to keep moving forward and keep that in mind as we continue on toward November,” said Lynn. “Now we just have to build on what we’ve done and play to our strengths. Really looking forward to seeing what happens here in the next six weeks.”
The Tigers will have a busy weekend in two weeks, with the women heading to Peoria, IL, for the Bradley Invitational and the men traveling up to Madison, WI, for the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.
Women's Blue Division
Team: 420 pts., 18th
Men's Blue Division
Team: 322 pts., 11th