By Megan Golden
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Despite the light mist and thick clouds, fans from across the country witnessed an all-too-familiar sight as University of Notre Dame sophomore Anna Rohrer won first place in the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational (JPND).
Rohrer, a sophomore out of Mishawaka, Indiana, maintained her spot toward the front of the pack and eventually bolted past California and New Mexico runners to finish 4.3 seconds ahead of them. Unfazed by the nationally-ranked competition, Rohrer recorded an Irish personal record (16:11.7) in the women’s blue 5K. Her time marked the second-best time in the JPND Invitational over the past 20 years.
Rohrer led the Irish to an eighth-place finish overall.
Runner of the MeetRohrer is unarguably the runner of the meet after recording an Irish personal record in the women’s blue 5K race. Her previous PR with the Irish was 16:46.8 in last year’s JPND Invitational.
Running in front of her family, friends and Mishawaka High School cross country team, Rohrer picked up right where she left off last season. Almost a year ago, she placed sixth in the 6K at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and later ran to an 11th-place finish (15:49.42) in the 5K as a member of Team USA at the World Junior Track & Field Championships.
Note of the MeetIrish Sophomore Annie Heffernan set an Irish personal record with a time of 16:47.1, passing her previous PR of 17:22.1 in this year’s National Catholic (Notre Dame, Indiana). Heffernan, who recorded first-place individual finishes in her first two meets of the season, crossed the finish line in 20th place.
Irish Sophomore Anna Rohrer Says...On her race overall…“I feel like this was a confidence booster because last year, having Molly [Seidel] on the team and also being a freshman, I didn’t have the experience. I was just along for the ride. I think I have the confidence to step up and believe in my abilities.”
On her family cheering for her...“Quite the fan club. It [encouraged me], actually. I was actually thinking, ‘This is my home course, this is my home town. I need to defend it.’”
On her teammate Annie Heffernan’s race...“That was very, very exciting because she was hurt this summer and she’s still getting back into shape. To have her run this well already is a really great sign. She’s pretty excited about it.”
On setting a new Irish PR and how to build off of that…“I know it’s a long season, so my goal is to take it week by week and stay healthy and consistent with training, so when it comes November, I can have a really good race when it counts.”
Blue Men’s RaceThe Notre Dame men’s squad, which included two freshmen, finished in 25th as a team. The Irish gained experience racing in a competitive field at home against five ranked opponents.
Assistant coach Sean Carlson emphasized the team’s youth and said he is confident the team learned from the meet.
“We’re a very young men’s team and our number two runner going down after 100 meters didn’t help our depth,” Carlson said. “It was a tough learning experience, but it allows our young men’s team to see where we need to be in the future in a field of this quality.”
Coming Up NextThe Irish return to action on October 14, when the men run in the Bradley Classic (Peoria, Illinois) at 3 p.m. CT and the women race in the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational (Madison, Wisconsin) at 12:30 p.m. CT.