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Track and Field: Irish win four events at Relay Meet

Joseph Monardo | Sunday, January 29, 2012

Facing tough competition and a large field at the Indiana Relays over the weekend, the Irish put forth an impressive performance highlighted by four victories.

The annual meet attracted a number of schools to Bloomington for events on both Friday and Saturday in what is one of the most competitive meets the Irish compete in every year. The Indiana Relays came on the heels of the Notre Dame Invitational, during which the Irish hosted four teams and captured six victories last weekend.

“I thought [the competition at the Indiana Relays] was really good,” sophomore sprinter Patrick Feeney said. “It was kind of a step up from the meet last week. Last week we didn’t have that good of competition, but still pretty good. This week it was a wider range of schools and just better competition that helped us run better.”

On day one of the Indiana Relays, the Irish placed three athletes in the top three of their respective events. Junior thrower Anthony Thomas finished third in the weight throw with his mark of 17.4 meters, and senior middle-distance runner Mitchell Lorenz took third as well in the 600-meter race. Junior middle-distance runner Jeff MacMillan recorded the highest finish of the day for the Irish by coming in second in the 3,000-meter run.

On the second day of the meet, Notre Dame earned its first victory of the weekend in the men’s 400-meter dash, when Feeney edged out Notre Dame freshman sprinter Chris Giesting for an Irish one-two finish.

Feeney’s victory opened up the floodgates for the Irish, who finished strong and captured victories in three out of the four relay events. Notre Dame swept the 800-meter relays, as the women’s team captured the victory with nearly a 10-second cushion and the men’s team took first place by almost eight seconds.

In the last event of the weekend, the Irish won the 400-meter relay, edging out Division II Ashland University by only .24 seconds. Feeney and Giesting ran the final two legs of the event and sealed what was a thrilling, come-from-behind victory for the Irish.

“In the [400-meter relay], we had really good competition,” Feeney said. “[Ashland] got out and ran really hard, and we just kind of went off of them and ran a really good time.”

Especially since [the 400-meter relay] is the last event, our whole team gets into it and they are lining up the final curve. Everybody started getting really loud when we were coming around and passing people, so that pumps you up even more to run.”

Freshmen football players George Atkinson III and Josh Atkinson, as well as sophomore football player Bennett Jackson, competed with the Irish for the first time. The Atkinson brothers both qualified for the semifinals of the 60-meter dash, coming in seventh and twelfth, respectively. George Atkinson III qualified for the finals and earned a seventh-place finish.

The meet was a perfect opportunity for the Irish to showcase their improvement across the board, Feeney said.

“Our sprint team is definitely improved from last year on the men’s side, even on the women’s side as well,” he said. “I think in the past few years the sprint team … hasn’t scored many points at Big East [competitions], but I think this year we are really stepping up. And the distance team, they are definitely running good as well. As a team as a whole, we are a lot better than we were a year ago.”

Notre Dame will return to action when it hosts the Meyo Invitational on Friday and Saturday.


Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu