Updated: Apr 8
Recruit rankings data has been manually collected by TSR contributors from multiple, reliable sources. Transfers and foreign recruits who are not expected to have four years of eligibility are excluded from these rankings. Order of rankings was decided by all TSR contributors. Despite our research, it is possible that certain names have been erroneously omitted.
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Notre Dame made a statement last year during the cross country season, proving that they belong at the NCAA XC Championships and that they are one of the better teams in the country. A 14th place finish in 2018 for a team that had not qualified for the national meet since 2013 is a promising sign for the future.
Last year’s incoming freshmen class was superb and this year it is no different. Coach Sean Carlson is building a strong program at Notre Dame and it is strengthened by the men who will arrive in South Bend this fall.
Carter Cheeseman of Texas will leave the heat and travel north up to Indiana, but he will fit right in talent-wise with the Fighting Irish. On the track, Cheeseman has run 4:05 (1600), 8:54 (3200), and 14:36 (5k). His range from the 1600 to the 5k will come in handy for a program that is beginning to build some significant depth in the mile and 5k distances.
In the fall, Cheeseman has run 14:42 for 5000 meters and in 2018 he finished 27th at NXN as well as 10th at the Footlocker XC Championship. Not only does he have experience on the national stage, but he has thrived in those meets as well. If he isn't redshirted, he could be a very strong scorer for Notre Dame come October and November.
Switching from Texas to Tennessee we have Jake Renfree. The 2018 Footlocker XC Championship runner-up will look to make an immediate impact for the Fighting Irish. Renfree has had extremely valuable experience and success during cross country and has backed that up with his speed...which makes him a difficult runner to figure out.
It is hard to determine if Renfree will become a middle distance runner or opt for the longer distances. His PR's reiterate his range: 1:52 (800), 4:05 (mile), 9:03 (3200 XC), and 15:10 (5k XC). I wouldn’t be surprised if Renfree is one of the Irish's scoring five later this fall and then later drops down to the mile in the winter and spring.
Coming from Canada to South Bend will be Nicholas Mota who has run roughly converted times of 4:09 and 9:05 during his time in Ontario. Mota was also 5th at the Canadian U20 National XC Championships, making him just as experienced as Renfree and Cheeseman.
Mota sort of reminds me of Notre Dame’s Dylan Jacobs, a runner who has great leg-speed, but will also look to make an impact on the cross country course. Expect some big things out of Mota though once the track season hits.
The next recruit to arrive in South Bend will be Connor Shields of Pennsylvania. Shields owns PRs of 1:55 (800), 4:16 (1600), and 9:31 (3200). Expect Shields to come in as a middle distance runner, focusing on the 800/1500. He'll continue to build depth at the mile distance for Coach Carlson's squad.
Tom Seitzer of Missouri has respectable PR's on the track and will look to make some noise on the Fighting Irish’s longer distance side. Seitzer has run 4:15 (1600) and 9:17 (3200) during his time in high school. With his 3200 PR, one can expect Seitzer to easily move up to the 5000 meters and potentially even the 10k. It may take some time, but he is someone who could potentially cover the entire distance spectrum on the track if he continues to develop.
North Dakota’s Alex Luz will be making the trek down to South Bend and he will bring with him a 1600 PR of 4:17. In recent years, Notre Dame has produced quality middle distance runners (see Yared Nuguse) and I imagine Luz will benefit from training with accomplished and experienced milers. He'll likely fall into the same category as Shields and Seitzer when it comes to development.
Staying at home in Indiana is Wil Zinkan. During his high school career, Zinkan ran personal bests of 1:55 (800) and 4:13 (1600). With the amount of middle distance training partners Zinkan will have, he will benefit greatly from the friendly competition at practice and gain key mentorship from rising veterans.
Another in-state recruit for the Fighting Irish is Quinn Gallagher. Gallagher arrives with PR's of 4:21 (mile) and 9:20 (3200), while also boasting a 5k XC PR of 15:20. It might be safe to assume that Gallagher will move up to the 5k on the track and find success in the typical 8k/10k races during cross country. Although it will take some time for him to develop like many others in this recruiting class, the 5th place finisher at the 2018 Indiana Cross Country state meet could bring some underappreciated value to the table in a couple of years.
Although some of these recruits will take time to build their fitness, guys like Mota, Cheeseman, and Renfree could be huge x-factors for the Fighting Irish this fall (if they aren't redshirted). Notre Dame will look to return to the NCAA XC Championship in November and ultimately place higher than they did in 2018.
Aside from the longer distance group, Coach Carlson secured some quality middle distance men who will help the program move forward on the track. Their depth in the mile distance will make Notre Dame a force to be reckoned on the track come two to three years from now.