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ND Women’s Track: Irish send 22 to Big East

Alex Barker | Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This weekend, Notre Dame will begin possibly its biggest meet of the season when it heads to the Big East outdoor championships May 2-5 in Philadelphia, Penn.

The Irish will send 22 athletes to the competition and will need each of them to have strong performances in order for Notre Dame to have a chance at claiming a top finish.

“I am not sure that we have the experience or the depth to win the meet this year – as we did last year – but we have the potential to finish in the top three if we perform exceptionally well,” said Irish coach Tim Connelly. “For us to have a chance for a strong team finish, all of our 22 athletes will need to score points, as we have very little margin for error.”

Following the Big East meet, those athletes who have qualified for the NCAA regional meet will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete for a chance to participate in the NCAA national championship meet in Des Moines, IA. Up to this point, the Irish have nine athletes and a relay team qualified for the regional meet.

One of those athletes, multi-event star junior Alyissa Hasan, will not have to participate in the regional meet because she has automatically qualified for the national meet in the heptathlon.

Hasan has had a record-breaking year for the Irish setting both school and personal records in the heptathlon event with 5,509 points.

“She is someone whom we have really relied upon this year because she can help us in so many events,” Connelly said. “It is great to see her putting things together and having so much success.”

Hasan garnered All-American honors during the NCAA indoor championships earlier this year with her performance in the decathlon.

Irish runners who have qualified for the NCAA regional meet and will be counted on to lead the team at the Big East meet include senior Brienne Davis, sophomores Lindsey Ferguson and Joanna Schultz, and freshmen Natalie Johnson and Kelly Langhans. Each of these athletes has earned top spots at nearly every meet this season in their respective events.

The Irish have also dominated the throws events in most of the meets this season. Junior Anna Weber and Sophomore Jaclyn Espinoza have led the Irish this year with their performances the shot put (Weber), hammer throw (Weber) and discus (Espinoza).

The athletes who finish in the top five in the regional meet will advance to the national meet and fight for All-American honors.