Arizona’s cross country team will be traveling to South Bend, Ind., on Oct. 4 for the Notre Dame Joe Piane Cross Country Invitational on the Burke Golf Course.
This will be the first invitational on the road race for the UA this cross country season and it’s a completely foreign course to all Arizona runners.
Last year at the Notre Dame Joe Piane Invite, Calvin University took first place, Youngstown State took second place and Indiana State took third place for the men’s team finishers. For women’s team finishers, BYU took first place, Furman took second place and Florida State took third place.
In regards to winning times, last year, the top three times for the men’s five mile were: 24:31.9, 24:32.6 and 24:37.2. For women, the winning times in the 5k were 16:19.6, 16:26.1 and 16:35.9. With these times in mind, the Wildcats can be expected to be competitive and certainly toward the front of the over 100 male and female athletes competing in each race.
In fact, last year at Arizona’s first travel tournament, the Wildcats racked up a total of 223 points for the women and 154 points for the men. This would put the Wildcats around 7th place for women and 8th for men in last year’s Notre Dame Invite, and Arizona runners have only gotten stronger since then.
During the past two races, the Wildcats were up against local athletes and teams in Arizona, like GCU, Mesa Community College and Pima Community College. Arizona travelling and facing more competition should may push them enough to create a few personal records.
In addition to personal records, cross country fans will be curious to see if Arizona runner Carlos Villarreal will be competing in this invite. He has taken a little bit of time off, having had a busy summer at the Pan American Games, so his racing return is keeping people on the edges of their seats. Clearly, what to expect at Notre Dame is a bit unclear.
Overall, the Notre Dame Joe Piane Cross Country Invite will be new territory for the Arizona runners; however, their times and team points in comparison to last year prove they’ll be more than just competitive.
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