Cross Country Heads to Notre Dame to Take on Top-Notch Competition

Sept. 26, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico's nationally ranked cross country teams are heading to Indiana this weekend as they take on a strong field at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The No. 19 women will compete Friday at 2:15 p.m. MT, and the No. 21 men at 3 p.m. MT.

After a couple of local meets, the Lobos are heading to one of the nation's premier cross country competitions of the season. Now that meet results start counting toward postseason play, New Mexico is heading out to the Notre Dame Golf Course to start positioning itself for the postseason.

"It's the start of our season really," said Head Coach Joe Franklin. "We may be a little rusty going into this one. They've trained hard, but you're also going against some of the top teams in the country."

The men's 5-mile race features 10 nationally ranked teams, including three top-15 squads, while the women's 8-kilometer run has five teams in the national polls, including No. 2 Florida State.

"Florida State on the women's side is very good. Florida State on the men's side is very good. Notre Dame on both sides [is very good]. It's a great competition and a great place to find out where we'll be," Franklin said.

New Mexico counters the field with its stellar array of talented runners. For the first time in 2012, Franklin will trot out a full squad that includes a number of the Lobos' most dangerous runners.

On the women's side, New Mexico will be represented by seniors Josephine Moultrie and Lacey Oeding, the Lobos top two runners so far in 2012. The pair will be joined by a stalwart bunch of returners that includes Imogen Ainsworth, Kirsten Follett, Janna Mitsos, Sophia Torres and Shawna Winnegar.

UK transfer Charlotte Arter will also make her season debut.  

Nicola Hood, who competed for the first time since 2010 at the Kachina Classic two weeks ago, will also make the trip to South Bend.

For the men, four athletes look to lead the Lobos at Notre Dame, including letterwinner Sean Stam, and transfers Adam Bitchell, Luke Caldwell and Patrick Zacharias.

Also competing for New Mexico are Logan Rosenberg, Sam Evans, Pierre Malherbe, Chris Montoya, Donovan Torres and Elmar Engholm.

The Lobos have had considerable success at the Notre Dame Invitational since they started competing there in 2008. Since then, New Mexico has never finished out of the top ten at the Invitational and has placed better than fifth overall on four occasions (2009-10 men, 2010-11 women). In 2011, the men placed eighth while the women finished third.

"These teams have been pretty good the past couple of years and they're used to this race," Franklin said of the Lobos. "So we'll see how strong we can be."

Check back Friday on for meet results and a New Mexico.