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Track and Field: Irish aim for Big East qualifiers

Aaron Sant-MIller | Thursday, March 29, 2012

With only three competitors, the Irish carried more than their own weight Wednesday when three multi-event athletes from Notre Dame traveled to Austin, Texas to compete in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Senior Maddie Buttinger and freshman Carly Loeffel represented the women in the heptathlon, while junior Ted Glasnow represented the men in the decathlon.

Both women competed in the first four events of their heptathlon, with Buttinger finishing the day in seventh and Loeffel finished the day in 20th. On the men’s side, Glasnow competed in a total of five events, finishing in 19th.

“Our athletes did perform pretty well,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “So, yes, I would say we’re off to a pretty good start.”

Buttinger managed top-five finishes in two of her four events, taking the first spot in the shot put with a toss of 12.34 meters and fourth place in the high jump with a leap of 1.69 meters. Buttinger had a little more difficulty in the field events, finishing 16th in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.82 seconds and finishing 11th in 200-meter dash with a time of 25.42 seconds.

“I think Maddie is doing well, if she has a better second day,” Piane said. “She, of course is a very good 800-meter runner, so she will do very well in that tomorrow.”

Piane also said Buttinger’s goals extend beyond the competition tomorrow, as she looks to the NCAA championships.

“I would expect Maddie, if not tomorrow, to at some point qualify for the NCAAs,” Piane said.

The meet was Loeffel’s first collegiate outdoor event. With less experience, Loeffel did not achieve quite the same success as Buttinger. She did finish 16th in both the shot put and the high jump with a toss of 10.29 meters and a leap of 1.6 meters. She struggled somewhat more in the other two events, as she finished 18th in the 200-meter dash (26.35 seconds) and finished 19th in the 100-meter hurdles (15.47 seconds).

Glasnow also struggled to match the bar Buttinger set. Like his teammates, Glasnow saw more success in the field events, with an 11th-place finish in the shot put (11.83-meters), a 13th place finish in the high jump (1.87-meters) and a 16th-place finish in the long jump (6.80-meters). On the track, Glasnow finished 19th in the 400-meter dash (52.80 seconds) and 23rd in the 100-meter dash (11.54 seconds).

“Ted is right where he should be,” Piane said. “Ted is very solid all around and he is showing that.”

The athletes’ performances are far from over. The two women have their second batch of four events tomorrow and Glasnow has his second of five events. All three will look to take advantage of this second day and move up the leaderboards.

“I expect all of them to keep doing what they started and remain solid,” Piane said. “But, this is our first heptathlon and decathlon se we’ll find out a little bit more about [our specific expectations] tomorrow.”

Three more athletes will represent the Irish tomorrow as well. The Irish will send sophomore Meghan Moore and juniors Alex Bavis and Dean Odegard to the Eastern Illinois Multi-Event Invitational in Charleston, Ill.

These three athletes will look to match the standards set by their teammates Wednesday in the Lone Star State.

“I’m sure they will do well also,” Piane said. “Right now, we’re trying to get our athletes qualified for the Big East [tournament], so that’s what they will be looking to do tomorrow.”

The busy week for the Irish continues tomorrow as they compete in both the second day of the Texas Relays and the first day of the Eastern Illinois Invitational. On Friday, some of the Irish will wrap up their performances in Charleston, Ill., while others will begin the first day of the Purdue Poehlein Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., which continues through Saturday.

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu