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Men’s Track: Irish take both indoor and outdoor conference titles

Andrew Owens | Thursday, May 13, 2010

When it came to Big East titles this season, Notre Dame stepped up to the task, winning both the indoor and outdoor championships.

“This is an extremely impressive accomplishment because the competition within the conference is very strong and many athletes are competing at the national level,” sophomore pole vaulter Kevin Schipper said.

Heading into the final day of competition in the outdoor championships, Notre Dame needed first-place finishes from both Schipper in the pole vault and senior Daniel Clark in the 1,500 meters to jump from fourth overall into the top position.

“We were hoping to win our third straight outdoor Big East meet. We knew it’d be tough,” Clark said. “The team was able to put together enough great performances in Cincinnati to squeak by Louisville for the win.”

Seniors Blake Choplin and Jim Notwell, junior Kevin Labus and sophomore Jack Howard combined to finish second in the 4×800-meter relay, and junior Greg Davis also claimed second in the hammer throw, with sophomore Mitchell Gormley behind him in third.

These performances helped Notre Dame to a narrow victory over second-place Louisville by a score of 123-114.

“With the way our workouts are drawn up, we typically see consistent improvements in race performance throughout,” Clark said. “Individually, winning the Big East meet was a thrill and a sign of good things to come.”

Clark said he saw much maturation out of his teammates throughout the 2010 campaign.

“All of the different groups of the team have seen consistent improvement throughout the year and we’re starting to hit peak performances just in time for conference and the NCAA prelims coming up in three weeks,” Clark said.

Irish head coach Joe Piane and his staff were named the Big East coaches of the year for both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

“We have a solid group of athletes that are focused on performing to the best of their ability,” Clark said. “The coaches help push us to maximize our talent. Winning the Big East was a culmination of all of the hard work individuals have been putting in.”

The NCAA Regionals will be held on May 28-29.