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Track & Field: Athletes compete for Big East ticket

Greg Hadley | Friday, April 26, 2013


For the last meet of the regular season, the Irish will once again split up their squad. Forty-six athletes will head to Hillsdale, Mich., to compete at the Hillsdale College Gina Relays, while 24 others will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the famous Drake Relays, one of the most prestigious meets in the Midwest.

With the Big East conference championship just a week away, the Hillsdale Relays will give Irish athletes who have not yet qualified for the championship one last chance. 

“Hillsdale is a little more local, and it’s a chance for as many people as possible to qualify for Big East [championships],” junior long jumper and captain Logan Renwick said. “Drake is a little more difficult to get into, so Hillsdale provides more chances for more people.”

Hillsdale also offers a decathlon for senior Ted Glasnow, who is coming off a career performance at the California Invitational last week, where he cracked 7,000 points for the first time. Glasnow, who finished third last year at the conference championship, leads the Irish multi-eventers, including senior Dean Odegard.

All of the Irish athletes competing at the Drake Relays have already qualified for the Big East championship. For them, the meet is a chance to participate in a championship-like atmosphere and take on the best competition on their schedule. 

“It’s one of the biggest meets of the year,” Renwick said. “Not only is there great collegiate competition, but there are also lots of professionals. I’m going up against the Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump. It’s very exciting. It’s a great tradition to come here year after year. There’s a lot of history at this meet.”

The Irish distance squad will be out in full force in Des Moines, led by senior Jeremy Rae, who ran the seventh best time in the country for the 1500 meter (3:41.45) last week at the Mt. SAC relays. Joining him will be senior Rebecca Tracy, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the country in the 1500 meter. The Irish also entered several relays in which they have had success in the past.

“Our men’s 4x[1600] has a great history here [at Drake],” Renwick said. “We won [three] in a row from [2006-2008] so we’d like to get that started again. Our women are the defending 4×800 meter champions, and both of our 4×400 meter relays are among the premier teams in the country. We’d like all of those teams to bring home titles to build confidence going into the conference championship.”

The Irish have high hopes for the conference championship, with the women looking to defend their indoor title, while the men hope to avenge their loss to Connecticut at the indoor championships and defend their outdoor title.

“Our goal has been to win the Big East from Day One, for both men and women. On the men’s side, most of the injuries we had during indoor have healed so we feel pretty confident that we can win. It’s the last Big East conference championship for us, so there’s a little more at stake. We really want to win it and go out on top.”

The Irish compete this weekend at the Hillsdale College Gina Relays at Hillsdale, Mich., and the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu