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Track and Field: Irish win nine events at Purdue

Brian Hartnett | Monday, April 2, 2012

Notre Dame concluded a busy weekend of multiple competitions by winning nine events in an impressive two-day showing at the Mike Poehlein Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind.

“Our team was really focused on qualifying for the Big East, and everyone competed very well,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “I was pretty happy with their performances.”

Notre Dame swept the pole vault on both sides, with senior Kevin Schipper earning a victory in the men’s event with a vault of 5.10 meters. Senior Ann Polcari captured the women’s title with a vault of 3.60 meters.

Freshmen twin standouts Kalia and Jade Barber each earned victories at the invitational, as the former narrowly edged out junior sprinter Nevada Sorenson to capture the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 13.82 seconds. Jade Barber won the women’s 400-meter dash in 55.62. Sophomore sprinter Aijah Urssery added another victory for the Irish short-distance squad, as she won the women’s 100-meter dash with a mark of 12.03 seconds.

“I was impressed with Kalia’s win in the 100-meter hurdles because she hasn’t run them at all this year, and she did a very good job,” Piane said. “That’s not to take anything away from Nevada Sorenson, who was right with her the entire way.”

The Irish outdoor field team saw success in their second meet of the year, as sophomore javelinist Amanda Chamblee won the women’s javelin throw with a toss of 38.71 meters.

The Irish women captured Notre Dame’s three other victories at the invitational. Sophomore jumper Kelly Burke took the top spot in the women’s triple jump with a leap of 11.50 meters, freshman Emily Frydrych won the women’s 800-meter dash in 2:11.41 and senior Kari Johnson took the women’s 5,000-meter event with a time of 18:03.92.

With the Irish taking home nine victories and earning numerous top-three finishes, Piane said he was impressed with the overall depth of the team.

“We’re probably as deep a team in both genders as we’ve been in years,” Piane said. “To do well in a conference meet, you need people scoring in all different events and I feel we’ve been doing just that.”

Four Irish pentathletes and heptathletes also concluded competition at the Neil Moore Multi-Event Invitational in Charleston, Ill. on Friday, with the male pentathletes competing in five events and female heptathletes finishing their final three events. Junior Dean Odegard posted the top showing for the Irish, finishing second in the pentathlon with a final score of 6,297 points. Odegard highlighted his performance by finishing first in both the 1,500-meter run and the discus throw. On the women’s side, sophomore Meghan Moore finished sixth in the heptathlon with a score of 4,279 points, a performance marked by her fourth-place finish in the long jump and fifth-place finish in the 200-meter dash.

Notre Dame will head west to Palo Alto, Calif. next weekend to compete in the Stanford Invitational. As the meet will mark the first spring competitions for indoor All-Americans senior Johnathan Shawel, senior Randall Babb and junior Jeremy Rae, Piane said he hopes to see the team meet some NCAA qualifying standards at the event.

“The real objective of going out to Stanford is to get some qualifiers for the NCAA region meet,” Piane said. “We’re going to open up some ladies and guys that haven’t run yet, and hopefully we can get some regional qualifying marks out of that.”

Competition at the Stanford Invitational kicks off on April 7.

Contact Brian Hartnett at

bhartnet@nd.edu