Badgers head to Notre Dame Invite

first_imgContinuing their season as the top-ranked team in the nation, head coach Jerry Schumacher and the UW men’s cross country team head to South Bend this Friday for the 50th annual Notre Dame Invitational.Several top-ranked teams highlight the invite. Of the 25 teams competing, seven are nationally ranked. Host school Notre Dame is currently ranked No. 6 nationally. No. 7 Arizona, No. 14 Michigan, No. 18 Florida State, No. 26 Colorado State and No. 30 Butler round out the competition. In the meet’s 49 years of existence, Notre Dame has claimed 15 victories. Michigan ranks second all time with eight titles. Last year’s winner and currently ranked No. 5 Stanford will not be in attendance.This weekend, the Badgers will hope to continue the dominating edge they showcased at Minnesota’s Griak Invitational. The last time the Badgers claimed a Notre Dame Invite victory was in 1976.”It sure has been a while since we won here,” Schumacher said. “But we normally race at the Jim Drew’s Invitational in La Crosse at this point in the season. It’s the first time that we’ve raced at the [Notre Dame Invitational] since I’ve been a coach here.”As for Wisconsin, they will feature six dominant runners.”We’ve got [Chris] Solinsky, Bobby Lockhart, Ben Gregory, Ben Porter, Christian Wagner and Joe Pierre running,” said Schumacher. While only six runners will contend for the Badgers, most teams will bring 12. The Badgers plan to use this weekend to debut their more experienced veterans.Junior Chris Solinsky will make his season debut. Last season, he garnered All-American honors and won the indoor track championships in the 3,000-meters.Also making their season debuts are senior Bobby Lockhart; senior Ben Gregory, an All-American in track; sophomore Ben Porter, a transfer student from Marquette; Joe Pierre, who redshirted last season; and freshman Christian Wagner, who made his Wisconsin debut three weeks ago at the Indiana State Invitational.The Fighting Irish will host a top group of elite of runners. Notre Dame will send its co-captain senior Tim Moore and junior Kurt Benninger, who are two of the nation’s premier distance runners.Also running will be Patrick Smyth, winner of the National Catholic championship two weeks ago in his college debut, and second-place finisher, sophomore Brett Adams.Sophomore Daniel Bradley and freshman Chris Rodriguez, who finished second at the Valparaiso Invitational, will also be competing for the Fighting Irish.Arizona, coming off a dominating win at the Dave Murray Invitational, where they captured six of the top seven finishes, will counter with star runner junior Robert Cheseret — who is the reigning 10,000-meter national track champion.Last year’s Pac-10 freshman of the year, Mohamed Trafeh, along with Obed Mutanya, Moses Mpanga, Eric Chavez, and Kenny Frank, have all finished top five in both races this year for the Sun Devils, and look to step up this Friday in what will be their toughest test.Michigan, after a strong performance at the Griak Invitational, climbed from No. 27 to No. 14 in the national rankings. The Wolverines will be sending a 12-man contingent consisting of their top three finishers from last weekend’s Griak Invitational.Sophomore Mike Woods, freshman Victor Gras, and freshman Justin Switzer will lead the Wolverines. Sophomore Andrew Bauer, freshmen Lex Williams and John Black, and junior Andrew Ellerton will also be competing.Florida State is sending their star ACC Champ, Andrew Lemoncello, who won last weekend’s Griak Invitational.Senior Sean Burris, juniors Tom Lancashire and Phil Nichols, and senior Kevin Cook will also be competing for the Seminoles. For Colorado State, seniors Josh Glaab and Paul Michel, and sophomore Jeff Wahl look to put their mark on the invite in Notre Dame.Even though this Wisconsin team is running in unfamiliar territory against some tough competition, Schumacher believes in his runners.”They got some guys that are tough,” Schumacher said. “We just have to go out there and run our best, and I think the [guys] will do just that, so we’ll see. It will be fun.”last_img

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