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ND Track & Field: Irish head to two-day meet

Kaitlyn Murphy | Friday, January 29, 2010

The Irish will travel south to Bloomington, Ind. this weekend to compete in the Indiana Invitational along with 21 other teams. The two-day meet begins Friday. The majority of the first day of competition consists of preliminary rounds of 60-meter sprints and hurdles.
Saturday’s contests will end the meet with invitational races and relays. All field events on Saturday will also be invitational.

The format of the meet will be key for the Irish, as it is the first two-day meet of the season. Big East Championships are less than a month away, and the Indiana Invitational will help the team prepare mentally and physically for grueling two-day competitions. It is also the team’s first away meet of the season.

The team will rely on the consistent and dominating performance of the Schipper brothers, sophomore Kevin and senior Matt, on the field in the pole vault. This duo has finished in first and second, respectively, in the team’s first two meets of the season. The team will also look to senior Jaclyn Espinoza for her leadership and consistent throws in the shot put. Irish throwing coach Adam Beltran praised Espinoza’s work ethic.

“Her ability to focus and stay in the zone never ceases to amaze me” Beltran said.
Espinoza’s stability will be essential to keeping the throwers on track during the taxing two-day meet.

On the track, freshman Nevada Sorenson will look for her third first-place finish of the year in the 60-meter hurdles. Her male counterpart, junior Justin Schneider, is also expected to be a force in the same event. Based on her performances in the first two meets of the season, mid-distance runner senior Joanna Schultz should compete at a high level in both the 400- and 500-meter races.

With regards to goals for this meet, the team will look to reach more Big East and NCAA provisional qualifying marks. The team has hit two NCAA provisional qualifying marks, one set by the sophomore Schipper in the pole vault with a height of 5.20-meters and the other by Schultz in the 400 with a time of 53.82.

In the beginning of the season, Irish coach Joe Piane identified the long-term goal for the indoor season as “send[ing] as many individual men and women and relay teams as possible to the NCAA tournament.”

This meet will be a crucial in determining Notre Dame’s place among a competitive line-up of colleges. The first race will start Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 10:30 a.m.