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Track & Field: Squad competes in unique “Border Battle”

Greg Hadley | Friday, April 12, 2013

For most of the outdoor season, the Irish travel around the country and participate in huge meets with thousands of elite athletes. This weekend, however, the team will stay in the Midwest for a smaller meet that has a lot more pride on the line.

The Louisville Border Battle pits the “Commonwealth” team, consisting of Kentucky and Louisville against the “Hoosier Land” team, represented by Notre Dame and Indiana. Scored as a dual meet, the Border Battle puts state pride on the line and builds a friendly rivalry between the Kentucky and Indiana schools, junior captain and long jumper Logan Renwick said.

“It’s a very different kind of meet from our usual ones,” Renwick said. “It’s a lot like the dual meets we had in high school, but it’s become a tradition. … The competition is always very good.”

The Irish have competed in every edition of the Border Battle, which began in 2010. After losing on both the men’s and the women’s side in the inaugural edition, “Hoosier Land” has swept the event the past two years. Last year, the Irish contributed seven individual victories and took both the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relay titles. This year, the team returns three of the four relay runners for both the men’s and women’s races.

“It’s a very fun meet,” Renwick said of the Border Battle. “It’s smaller than anything we’ve done in outdoor so far, but it’s competitive and fun to be scored [with Indiana] and to try to win for Indiana.”

The Battle comes at an ideal time for the Irish, who are coming off meets at Stanford and Michigan State and are scheduled to return to California next weekend for the Mt. SAC Relays, one of the biggest track meets in the nation. The small field at the Border Battle will keep the pressure low on Irish athletes and enable the team to conclude competition in one day, Renwick said.

“For the field athletes, it’s a lot different from the big meets [we’re usually in],” Renwick said. “With less athletes, the flights are less crowded, you get your jumps in faster and you get it all done quicker.”

Renwick said the team hopes to use the meet to take stock of its spring season, which is about to reach its midpoint.

“We’re about halfway through outdoor right now, and we want to see if we’re getting faster and getting stronger,” Renwick said. “It’s a chance for more people to get personal records and hit the [Big East] standards, or even qualify for regionals.”

The Irish will travel to Louisville, Ky., to compete at the Louisville Border Battle, which starts Saturday at 10:30 a.m.  

Contact Greg Hadley at ghadley@nd.edu