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Track and Field: Impressive finishes abound in California

Brian Hartnett | Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Notre Dame made the most of its West Coast trip over the weekend, as the Irish won two events and captured numerous top-three finishes at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.

“I think our team was really focused and knew what they needed to do,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “A lot of kids wanted to get qualified for our region meet and we got that done.”

Freshman thrower Emily Morris brought home the sole Irish victory Friday by winning the women’s shot put with a throw of 14.71 meters. The Irish men’s 4×400-meter relay team of junior sprinter Brendan Dougherty, sophomore sprinter Patrick Feeney, senior middle distance runner Mitchell Lorenz and freshman sprinter Chris Geisting captured first place the following day with a time of 3:08.82, 26 seconds faster than runner-up Minnesota.

Morris’s victory marked one of several accomplishments for the Irish field team at the invitational. Sophomore jumper Logan Renwick turned in a pair of second-place performances, finishing as the runner-up in the men’s long jump and triple jump. Senior pole-vaulter Kevin Schipper continued his string of impressive performances with a second-place finish in the men’s pole vault, while freshman thrower Dominick Padovano finished second in the men’s discus event.

On the women’s side, Notre Dame took two of the top three spots in the discus, with junior thrower Madeline Casanova taking second place and sophomore thrower Vivien Devaney finishing in third. Senior multi-event athlete Maddie Buttinger placed third in the long jump with a personal-best mark of 1.76 meters, while sophomore jumper Kelly Burke and sophomore thrower Amanda Chamblee turned in third-place finishes in the pole vault and javelin, respectively.

Notre Dame also enjoyed a successful weekend on the track, receiving strong performances from indoor All-Americans junior middle distance runner Jeremy Rae and senior middle distance runner Johnathan Shawel in their spring track debuts. Rae and Schawel kicked off their spring seasons by finishing second in their respective heats for the men’s 1500-meter event. Elsewhere, Geisting held off Feeney to win his heat in the men’s 400-meter event, while Dougherty recorded a second-place finish in his own 400-meter heat.

For the women, the Irish recorded two-top finishes in the 400-meter hurdles, as freshman sprinter Kaila Barber placed second and sophomore sprinter Megan Yanik followed one spot behind in third. Sophomore middle distance runner Kelly Curran took the top spot in her 800-meter heat, while sophomore sprinter Michelle Brown finished second overall in the 400-meter dash.

Several performances at the invitational met NCAA region qualifying standards, allowing multiple Irish athletes the opportunity to compete at the NCAA East Regional in May.

Piane said approximately 25 Notre Dame athletes have

qualified for the regional meet thus far, with additional opportunities to qualify still remaining on the schedule.

Notre Dame will head to Louisville, Ky., next weekend to compete in the Louisville Border Battle, an event that pits Louisville and Kentucky against Indiana and Notre Dame.

Despite the unique nature of the event, Piane said the goals for Notre Dame will remain the same.

“It’s a different twist on a meet, and it should be a lot of fun,” Piane said. “We expect another weekend full of good performances and getting more kids qualified for our region meet.”

Contact Brian Hartnett at bhartnet@nd.edu