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ND Track & Field: Marks set at Indoor ND opener

Matt Robison | Monday, January 18, 2010

The Irish went into Friday’s Notre Dame Indoor Opener at the Loftus Sports Center looking to find out what type of shape the athletes were in and how the past semester’s conditioning and training had benefitted them.

Irish coach Joe Piane said that the approach was simply to “find out where [the team is] at in terms of conditioning.”

From the results, it appears the effort was not put forth in vain.

The meet allowed the Irish to see where different athletes are and how well prepared they will be for upcoming Big East meets.

Against DePaul, Loyola and the women’s squad from Western Michigan, the Irish set 34 Big East qualifying marks and one NCAA qualifying mark. Notre Dame also claimed first place in half of the 32 events. Additionally, the Irish came away with a good idea of what to expect next weekend in the Notre Dame Invitational.

Some standout performers for the Irish proved their dominance once again. Freshman sprinter Nevada Sorenson finished first in the women’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.59. On the men’s side of the 60-meter hurdles, junior decathlon competitor Justin Schneider finished first with a time of 8.77.

In the men’s pole vault, the brothers Kevin and Matt Schipper finished first and second, respectively, for the second consecutive meet. Kevin, a sophomore, set an NCAA provisional and a Big East qualifying mark with a vault of 5.20 meters. Matt, a senior, also made a strong showing, finishing close behind with a Big East qualifying vault of 4.80 meters.

In some events, the Irish were simply dominant. In the men’s 1000-meter race, Irish runners took the top three spots with sophomore Randall Babb, senior Cameron Eckert and freshman Trent Sayers finishing first, second and third, respectively. The Irish took the top five spots in the men’s 400-meter and 500-meter, and took the top four spots in the men’s 4×400-meter relay.

In the women’s pole vault, former Irish All-American Mary Saxer competed unattached and tied her own Loftus Sports Center record with a vault of 4.15 meters. Freshman Chrissy Finkel and junior Jessica Sullivan qualified for the Big East Championships with a vaults of 3.40 meters each.

The Irish will take on Michigan State and Louisville in the triangular Notre Dame Invitational this Friday and Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center.