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Track and Field: Irish spread around country to compete

Laura Coletti | Tuesday, March 27, 2012

After beginning the outdoor season by placing 10 athletes on the podium at the Victor Lopez Invitational on March 24, the Notre Dame track and field squads are taking their talents to various locations this week.

A select few multi-event competitors are headed to Texas to compete in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Tex., today and tomorrow, while other athletes will travel to the Eastern Illinois Multi-Events Invitational, to be held tomorrow and Friday in Charleston, Ill. The majority of the team will be traveling in-state this weekend, heading to Purdue’s Polhlein Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., for a weekend meet.

Senior multi-eventer Maddie Buttinger, freshman multi-eventer Carly Loeffel and junior multi-eventer Ted Glasnow are the only Irish athletes who are competing in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The meet will be Loeffel’s first-career collegiate outdoor meet and Buttinger’s first outdoor meet after a stellar indoor season.

On March 10, Buttinger broke the school record in the pentathlon and took third at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Buttinger said she hopes to use momentum from her successful indoor season when she competes in the heptathlon in Texas.

“There are eight or nine girls who are going to be here who I competed against in Idaho [at the indoor championships],” Buttinger said. “There are 25 girls total and 15 or so who have gone to nationals before, so it’ll be really competitive. This is [Loeffel’s] first heptathlon ever and it will be a really good experience for her to be at this relay. This will be a really good meet in general for the both of us.”

There is additional pressure for Buttinger and Loeffel to perform well this weekend, as it is the only opportunity other than Big East championships in which they’ll be able to qualify for outdoor nationals.

“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking because it’s one of only two times we’ll have to qualify for ationals,” Buttinger said. “There’s a little bit of pressure I guess, but it will be really fun to be outside.”

While junior middle-distance runner Jeremy Rae is one of a handful of athletes not competing until the Stanford Invitational on Easter weekend, he said the meets this week present a nice chance for teammates to make a mark.

“The [meets] are good opportunities to get some Big East qualifying marks,” he said. “For most of the team, this is their second meet of the season. The main goal for the outdoor season is to build on our great indoor season and win the outdoor Big East title.”

The transition from the indoor season to the outdoor season brings a change in events, Rae said.

“It’s a little more difficult to win the outdoor title,” he said. “There are no 500-meter, 1000-meter, or 3000-meter races, but there’s the addition of the 100-meter, 4 x 100-meter, and 10,000-meter races. There’s also the javelin throw outdoors instead of the weight throw indoors. The addition of the short sprints and the 10,000-meter race make the outdoor meet a little more difficult.”

The Irish are competing in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays beginning today in Austin, Texas. The East Illinois Multi-Events Invitational begins tomorrow in Charleston, Ill., and the Purdue-Polhlein Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., begins Friday.

 

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu