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Two graduates of Judge Memorial Catholic High School recently garnered All-American honors at the 2008 NCAA Division I Cross-Country Championships held in Terre Haute, IN.
Patrick Smyth, a 2005 Judge graduate and now a senior at the University of Notre Dame, placed 10th in the NCAA championships and earned his third cross-country All-American honor. Smyth, who finished with a time of 29:48, led Notre Dame to a 19th place finish. Smyth's 15th-place performance at the 2007 meet earned him his second cross country All-America honor and led Notre Dame to a 21st-place finish.
Earlier this month Smyth was named the 2008 Great Lakes Region Men's Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association. Smyth won his second straight regional title and led the Irish men to a fourth-place regional finish Nov. 15. He was second at the BIG EAST Conference meet, helping Notre Dame to a runner-up finish. Smyth finished fourth at the Pre-NCAA meet on Oct. 18 and was fifth at the Notre Dame Invitational Oct. 3.
Luke Puskedra, a 2008 Judge graduate, now a freshman at the University of Oregon, placed fifth in the NCAA championships, the meet's top freshman finish, and was awarded his first collegiate All-American honor. Led by first-place finisher senior Galen Rupp with a time of 25:03.2, the Ducks won their second consecutive NCAA Championship. In addition to Rupp, the Duck men also counted All-American performances from Luke Puskedra, who ran fifth in 29:27.8, and senior Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, who placed ninth in 29:43.4.
Earlier in the year, Puskedra finished second in the PAC-10 Championships behind Rupp and led the Ducks to their third consecutive Pacific-10 Conference men's cross country crown.
"Having two former Judge runners finish in the top 10 in the NCAA championships is quite an achievement," said Rick Bartman, principal of Judge Memorial. "It speaks volumes about the cross-country program at Judge, and about the commitment and drive of these two young men. We are very proud of Pat and Luke; they truly are champions."
Dan Quinn, who coached both Smyth and Puskedra at Judge, attended the race hosted by Indiana State this past weekend.
"It was exciting," said Quinn. "For a portion of the race, about 6,000 meters, Patrick and Luke were racing stride by stride, talking with one another." Earlier in the weekend, Quinn spent time with both runners. "Pat told me his goal was to finish in the top 10. When I mentioned that to Luke, he said, 'well, I guess that's my goal, too.' "
In addition to being a three-time All-American in cross-country, Smyth is also a two-time track and field All-American for the Fighting Irish. Smyth is majoring in history.
"Patrick has been Luke's mentor since Luke was a freshman at Judge," said Quinn. "Every summer, Pat and Luke ran together and Pat taught him what it was like to be a college runner. My thought as I was watching the race, and as their high school coach it was really amazing to watch, was that maybe the mentor taught the student one too many lessons."