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Men’s Track: Irish excel at two invites over weekend

Eugenia Alfonzo | Sunday, April 13, 2008

Notre Dame sent athletes to two events this weekend but had enough strong marks in the Spartan and Ole Miss Invitationals to make it seem like a full Irish squad competed in each.

Freshman Alex Gannon started things off at the Spartan Invitational Saturday with a seventh-place time of 11.93 seconds in the 100-meter dash. Freshman Justin Schneider followed in the men’s 200-meter dash with an 11th place finish of 23.09. Schneider, one of the top decathlon runners of the Big East, also earned top marks in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump. He finished in fifth place in the hurdle event and fourth in the long jump.

Freshman Ryan Gamboa also scored some points for the Irish in the middle distance race. He placed fourth with a time of 1:56.39 after a close finish at the end of the race – Gamboa finished .02 ahead of Central Michigan’s Nick Agosti.  

The Irish placed three competitors in the top 10 in the pole vault competition. Sophomore Matt Schipper finished first with a height of 4.90-meters, while sophomore Jim Merchun finished in a three-way tie for fourth with a height of 4.60-meters.

“So far it has been [a good] season, and I have already qualified for outdoor regionals, but now I need to prepare for a good finish at Regionals,” Schipper said. 

Junior Brian Mahon followed close behind Schipper and Mercun with another three-way tie for seventh place with a height of 4.45-meters.

In the Ole Miss Invitational, freshman Miklos Szebeny finished in seventh place in the 100-dash with a time of 10.82 seconds. In another sprint event, the 400-hurdles, senior Austin Wechter finished eighth with a time of 54.39 seconds.

“I was not too happy with my performance this past weekend, I know I can do better,” Wechter said. “I would definitely like to improve on my personal best, that’s my major goal.”

Junior Kevin McFadden and freshman Spencer Carter kept up the team’s strong showing, finishing fifth and tenth respectively in the 1500-meter run.

The Irish also did well in the field events. Junior Blair Majcina dominated his competition by four inches in the high jump, finishing first and not far from an NCAA regional qualification. Majcina comes into the outdoor season after recovering from an injury in the fall.

“The outdoor season has just started. I have given a couple of mediocre performances, but it has given me a chance to make some much needed adjustments to my approach and jumping form” Majcina said. “It is a work in progress because I am coming back from a torn patella tendon in the fall.”

Sophomore Eric Quick kept up the momentum from his double NCAA regional qualifications in the long and triple jump, placing third in the triple jump. 

Brandon Denon narrowly qualified for the NCAA Regional meet in May by throwing the discus 52.37 meters. Denon’s effort was good for second place, a full two meters better than the third-place finisher.

The freshman trio of Denes Veres, John Belcher and Greg Davis placed fourth, seventh, and 14th respectively in the shot put. Belcher also placed in the discus throw, earning seventh place with a throw of 47.14 meters. Davis and Veres also participated in the hammer throw, throwing 50.68 meters and 47.83 for sixth and tenth place respectively.

The next meets for the Irish are next weekend at the Central Collegiate Championships and the Mount SAC Relays.