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Track and Field: Irish split squad for Drake, Gina Relays

Megan Finneran | Monday, May 2, 2011

Splitting up into two separate locations, the Irish competed in two relays for their final weekend of competition before championship play begins. A small selection of athletes traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Relays, while a larger group went to Hillsdale, Mich., for the Gina Relays.

“For individual events the weekend definitely had its ups and downs, but overall it was an awesome prep for [the Big East tournament] next weekend,” sophomore pole vaulter Chrissy Finkel said.

The highlight of the Drake Relays came with the men’s 1,600-meter relay, which consisted of juniors Jordan Carlson and Johnathan Shawel and sophomores J.P. Malette and Jeremy Rae. The men finished in second place at 16:38.99.

“Some of our runners had great splits in their relays, and I think everyone’s feeling more confident,” Finkel said. “Placing at the Drake Relays is really exciting.”

The men’s 3,200-meter relay team also had successful results, coming in third with a time of 7:25.75. The men also sent their 400-meter relay team of senior Edward Hitchler, sophomore Brendan Dougherty and freshmen Jarrod Buchanon and Patrick Feeney, which took 10th place at 3:13.52. Senior shot-putter Denes Veres, the final member of the men’s team at the Drake Relays, who took 10th place with a throw of 16.74 meters.

The women sent five individual athletes for four events. Seniors Kelly Langhans and Abby Higgins both competed in the 800-meter run, finishing ninth and 14th at 2:14.78 and 2:16.43, respectively. Sophomore Nevada Sorenson took tenth in the 100-meter hurdles at 13.97, while pole-vaulter Finkel took 16th with a throw of 3.70 meters. Senior shot-putter Rudy Atang finished 20th with her throw of 13.80 meters.

The Irish sent a much wider field to the Hillsdale Relays, where they had 16 top-five finishes, three of which were first-place.

Forerunners included first-place finishers Megan Yanik in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:00.41, sophomore Rebecca Tracy in the 800-meter run at 2:09.70 and senior Mat Abernethy in the 5,000-meter run at 14:51.93.

Other strong performances came in the women’s 1,500-meter run, where two freshmen put the Irish in two of the top five slots. Kelly Curran took second in 4:25.52, followed two seconds later by Alexa Aragon in fifth, crossing the line at 4:27.73.

In the next race, the 5,000-meter run, junior Susanna Sullivan came in second at 16:56.43, trailed less than four seconds later by sophomore Rachel Verde in third at 17:00.03. The final top-five finish in the women’s side came with Kelly Burke’s 3.70 meter pole vault finish, as she notched a fifth place for the Irish in the event.

The men dominated the hammer throw, where seniors John Belcher and Greg Davis took second and third with distances of 56.75 meters and 54.80 meters, respectively. Similar results came in the shot-putt, as Belcher came in third with a throw of 16.26 meters and junior Andy Hills took fourth with a throw of 16.11 meters. Freshman Peter Kristiansen claimed the final top-five finish for the field events, taking second in the javelin throw at 53.82 meters.

The Irish next compete in the Big East championships beginning May 6 in Villanova, Penn.