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Track and Field: Teams head to Big East championships in Ohio

Laura Coletti | Friday, February 15, 2013

 

Sixty-six Irish athletes will compete at the Big East championships this weekend in Geneva, Ohio. The men’s side will be looking to repeat as champions, while the women’s team will try to improve upon their fourth-place finish from a year ago. 

Senior pole vaulter and captain Chrissy Finkel said that the teams adjusted their training this week in order to stay fresh for the weekend.

“A lot of the groups started to lighten up earlier in the week, because they really want everyone to be well-rested going into this weekend,” she said. “That’s something that’s got to happen for us to win.”

On the women’s side, Finkel was confident in their abilities based on improvement she saw from last indoor season to the outdoor season, during which they placed second at the conference championship meet. 

“We’re absolutely in the running this year to come in first,” she said. “It’s not going to be by a landslide, though. It’s going to be really close.”

The men are in a similar situation, facing a very competitive field.  Irish coach Joe Piane said that it’s going to be a great two days of action.

“There are a handful of schools on both sides that could easily bring home a title, and I feel like we are among the handful that have a great shot,” he said. “If we have good solid performances throughout all the events I think we should give ourselves a good chance to win.”

Notre Dame has been using other meets thus far in the season to prepare for the Big East championships. Finkel said that all of the athletes competing this weekend have done a good job getting ready.   

“The individuals that did really well [last weekend], it was absolutely reassuring to see them continuing to improve,” she said. “And for those who maybe didn’t have their best performances, it is okay because they got it out of their system, and hopefully will be able to put that behind them and go into this weekend really strong.”

Members of the Irish who are heading into this weekend ranked in the top-25 include junior sprinter Pat Feeney (3 rd) and sophomore sprinter Chris Giesting (21st) in the men’s 400m, as well as senior middle distance runner Rebecca Tracy (24th) in the mile; sophomore hurdlers Jade and Kaila Barber (14th and 23rd, respectively) and senior hurdler Nevada Sorenson (17th) in the 60m hurdles; and sophomore jumper Mary Esther Gourdin in the triple jump. 

“We have a lot of people who are doing exceptionally well right now,” Finkel said. “It’s been amazing to watch them this season. We have a large group and it’s one of the major times we really feel like a cohesive team.”

The Irish will open competition at the Spire Institute on Saturday morning. 

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu