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ND Women’s Track & Field: Irish hope for success at home

Alex Barker | Friday, January 23, 2009

The Irish will line up against some of their toughest competition of the season this weekend when they host the Notre Dame Invitational tonight at the Loftus Sports Center. It will be the third of five meets scheduled to be hosted by the Irish this season.

“The level of competition will be very good,” associate head coach John Millar said. “We are running a scored meet with Wisconsin, Michigan State and Marquette. These schools have a number of outstanding individuals and solid overall teams.”

Millar believes this meet will offer his team a great chance to gain experience under the conditions of an actual meet.

“This meet will be an opportunity for the whole team to come together to compete in a scored team meet, which is one of the few that we compete in annually,” he said. “It should be a very competitive meet in all events and I know our athletes are looking forward to it. “

So far this season, the Irish have looked very strong. In last week’s Notre Dame Opener held at Loftus, the Irish had 12 women qualify for the Big East Championship, including senior pole-vaulter Mary Saxer whose jump of 4.06-meters also qualified her for the NCAA regional meet and set a Loftus record.

At Friday’s Invitational, Millar hopes his team will be able to maintain the momentum it has built up over the last few weeks.

“Our team goal is to win the meet,” he said. “Individually, our athletes are looking to improve on their performances and hopefully establish some Big East and NCAA qualification performances.”

Looking ahead past Friday, Millar sees a bright future for the Irish as they move into the tougher meets in their schedule.

“So far, the indoor season has been successful,” he said. “We have had some individual NCAA qualifiers, a number of athletes performing at a higher level than this time last year, and I believe we are on schedule to continue improving as the major meets of the year approach.”

Friday’s Invitational will kick-off with the long jump and weight throw events at 5:30 p.m., followed by the start of the running events at 6:30 p.m.