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Track and Field: Split squad gets good results

Aaron Sant-Miller | Monday, April 23, 2012

The Irish wrapped up a successful weekend in Bloomington, Ind. in the Polytan Invitational. Notre Dame was able to grab eight first-place victories during the weekend at Indiana University.

“It was a pretty solid weekend,” junior Jeremy Rae said. “A lot of our guys did very well and had some really good outings.”

On the first day, Irish athletes claimed three first-place spots. Sophomore Kelly Burke was able to claim a victory in the triple jump with a 12.01-meter jump. Following close behind Burke was freshman Mary Esther Gourdin, who secured the second spot for the Irish with a leap of 12 meters.

The Irish women also took first and second in the 400-meter hurdles, as freshman Kaila Barber claimed first with a time of 58.92, while sophomore Megan Yanik took a close second with a time of 1:00.24.

Junior Rebecca Tracy claimed the third victory Saturday in the 1,500-meter run as she finished with a time of 4:20.05. The pattern of the Irish sweeping the top-two spots following a victory was continued, as sophomore Kelly Curran took second with a time of 4:22.64.

Despite the impressive showing Saturday, the Irish managed to top this performance on Sunday as the team went on to claim five first-place finishes. In the field events, freshman Keith Mesidor won the long jump with a leap of 7.28 meters. Also in the field, All-American senior Kevin Schipper took first in the pole vault with a vault of 5.40 meters. For Schipper, this vault was a season-best by .50 meters and moved him up 10th nationally for the pole vault and 3rd in the Big East.

On the track, the Irish thrived as well. Freshman Aijah Urssery, who won the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.4 seconds, led the Irish. Urssery continued her strong day with a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash (11.75 seconds).

Also, Tracy continued to shine with another first place finish. She won her second event of the weekend with a time of 2:06.44 in the 800-meter. Freshman Jade Barber rounded off the Irish victories when she finished the 100-meter dash in 54.90 seconds. Close behind her was sophomore Michelle Brown, who finished the race in 55.56 seconds.

Yet, the Irish were without Rae and senior Johnathan Shawel, who had traveled across the country to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays. The Relays are an elite level of competition that features athletes at all levels. Both players competed in the 1,500-meter run. Shawel shined, finishing 25th overall with a time of 3:49.24.

Yet, Shawel’s strong performance was overshadowed by the stellar performance put on by Rae. Rae placed fifth overall with a time of 3:40.93. Still, this time was more than good enough as it gave Rae the top collegiate time in the event. On top of this, Rae now has moved into third in the Big East with that time, as well as third overall in the country.

The results weren’t as positive as one might expect, Rae said.

“I’m just a lot fitter than I was in the past, so I was able to [set a personal record] in the event without doing my best,” Rae said. “I’m happy that I got the [personal record] but I also know I can go a lot faster so I’m not really that happy with it.”

This desire to always do better is something the Irish will look to embrace in the coming days. The team will travel to Des Moines, Iowa for the Drake Relays, a three-day event that will take place all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

 

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu