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Track and Field: Irish impress at Stanford Invitational

By Greg Hadley | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Competing against some of the best athletes in the country, the Irish held their own and showed their depth this weekend at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., and the Oliver Nikilof Open in Cincinnati. Notre Dame athletes won a combined seven events between the two meets.

At Stanford, sophomore Chris Giesting, junior Patrick Feeney and senior Brendan Dougherty combined to dominate in the 400-meters, finishing first, second and fifth respectively. Giesting and Feeney’s times (46.31 and 46.38) currently rank second and third in the nation and Giesting was recognized as the Big East Men’s Track Athlete of the Week for his performance.

Both the men and the women excelled in the 4×400-meter relay, finishing first and second, respectively. Their times rank in the national top 15 this season.

Senior thrower Madeline Casanova also had an outstanding meet, winning the discus and placing second in the hammer throw with a personal record. However, she wasn’t particularly pleased with her own effort.

“My performance this weekend was mediocre,” Casanova said. ” But it was still nice to compete in front of my friends and family, and in the sun for once.”

The Stanford Invitational is known for producing impressive middle and long distance performances and the Irish followed the trend. Senior All-American Rebecca Tracy won the 800-meter in 2:05.31 and ran the third best time in the country (4.18:07) after placing second in the 1500-meter on Friday. Joining her in the top five of both events was freshman Danielle Aragon, whose 800-meter time (2:06.40) is the best in the nation by a freshman this year. Fellow freshman Molly Seidel added a first-place finish in her section of the 5000-meter, in the 10th best time of the country this year. For the men, senior Jeremy Rae ran the 5000-meter for the first time and dipped below 14 minutes (13:59.32), while freshman Michael Clevenger finished sixth in his section, setting his fourth straight personal record.

The Irish had 25 top-five finishers overall and showed they have the depth and talent to reach their lofty goals, Casanova said.

“This weekend’s great performances move us just one step closer [to] our goals,” Casanova said. “We want to win the Big East and have lots more athletes compete at regionals and place at nationals.”

In Ohio, the multi-eventers had a strong showing. On the men’s side, seniors Dean Odegard and Ted Glasnow finished third and fourth respectively, while freshman Brent Swanberg placed sixth in his first collegiate decathlon. Sophomore Carly Loeffel led the women’s heptathlon from start to finish and finished 294 points ahead of her closest competitor with a score of 5,113.

The Irish will next compete at the Michigan State Invitational in East Lansing, Mich., on April 5 and 6.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu