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Track and Field: Irish prepare for Border Battle

Laura Coletti | Friday, April 13, 2012

The Irish will be participating in a meet of different sorts this weekend when they travel to Louisville for the Border Battle meet.

This meet, which features Notre Dame, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville, pits the Indiana schools against the Kentucky schools in a contest between the “Hoosiers” and the “Commonwealths”.

“It’s a cool meet, because the two states are scored against each other,” senior pentathlete Maddie Buttinger said. “It’s a competitive atmosphere because you’re on a team with another school as well as on a team with your own school.”

“It’s definitely unique,” senior middle-distance runner Randy Babb said. “It’s definitely more fun than any other meet we run outdoors. It’s definitely competitive but it’s low-key, in that there’s only four teams, whereas at Stanford last weekend there were dozens of teams.”

The meet, while competitive, promotes camaraderie and includes a dinner for all of the athletes.

“It’s a fun meet,” Buttinger said. “There’s usually really good weather and people typically perform really well. It’s kind of a relaxed environment, so it’s different from other meets.”

“It’s a lot more low-key,” Babb said. “We’re definitely competing against IU [as well as the Kentucky schools] but it’s fun how they score the meet Indiana versus Kentucky. It’s the ‘fun factor’ that sets this meet apart from the rest and part of that fun is competing with IU.”

Last weekend, at the Stanford Invitational, many Irish athletes qualified for the NCAA Regional meet. With just three weeks until the Big East meet, many of the athletes are turning in strong performances.

“We’re coming off a strong indoor season and moving forward our goals are always the same: qualify as many people for [the regional meet], but most importantly, win the Big East meet.” Babb said. “It’s nice having that confidence coming off the indoor season and it’s going to inspire us coming up on the outdoor Big East meet.”

One of the Irish’s top performers, junior middle-distance runner Jeremy Rae, was recognized as the Big East’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week this week. Both Babb and Buttinger said that though this is an individual award, Rae’s success resonates with the team.

“It’s great to know he’s one of the top athletes in the country,” Babb said. “For him to win this honor again just shows how consistently he can compete at a top level. For the team, it’s great to know we have a leader both emotionally and vocally for the team as well as on the track.”

The fact that this meet is only one day long will affect how the Irish prepare, Buttinger said.

“There are so many more events condensed into a short time,” Buttinger said. “You have to plan your events properly because there is a lot less time between them. You have to really make sure you’re warming up the whole time and planning.”

Notre Dame will help represent Indiana at the Border Battle in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday.


Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu