Track and Field
Women finish first in ND Invitational
Evan Anderson | Sunday, January 26, 2014
Notre Dame played host to Michigan State, Southern Illinois and Illinois State on Saturday for the Notre Dame Invitational, earning a victory on the women’s side and falling just eight points shy on the men’s side of Michigan State.With the New Mexico Team Invitational and the Meyo Invitational looming the next two weeks, Irish coach Joe Piane said he was pleased with his teams’ performances.
“There is always a focus on improving and starting to qualify for ACCs, but any time a meet is scored and you wear that ND [monogram] on your chest, it’s an important meet,” Piane said. “On the men’s side, we came up just a little short in a few events; on the women’s side, a win is a win. We always want to win.”
Graduate student Jeremy Rae highlighted the second-place finish on the men’s side by setting a Notre Dame record in the 1,000-meter run. Rae’s time of 2:22.07 narrowly clipped the mark of 2:22.22 held by Phil Mishka since 2000.
“This was Jeremy’s first race of the year, marvelous performance,” Piane said. “But right behind him we had [freshman] Jacob Dumford, [graduate student] J.P. Malette, and [sophomore] Eric Gebeke … great race for us.”
The Irish also got first-place finishes from senior Jarrod Buchanon in the 60-meter hurdles (8.04 seconds), senior Patrick Feeney in the 400-meter (46.38), junior Chris Giesting in the 500-meter (1:04.52), freshman Patrick O’Connell in the 800-meter (1:52.09), Malette in the 3,000-meter (8:24.32), and in the 4×400-meter relay (3:10.36). Feeney’s time in the 400 ranks him fourth in the country this year.
“The times speak for themselves, but Patrick does so much for us,” Piane said of his two-time All-American. “He has always led by example … he does all of the little things, anything it takes to be good.”
On the women’s side, the Irish narrowly outscored Michigan State, 179-173, and earned a first-place finish on home turf for a second consecutive year. Piane was particularly happy with the performance of junior twins Kaila and Jade Barber, who combined to finish first or second in six different events.
“Jade won the [60-meter] hurdles, her sister ran a wonderful 200-meter to finish second,
and they both ran great legs in the mile relay,” Piane said. “Those were important points for us.”
Notre Dame got victories on the women’s side from senior Aijah Urssery in the 60-meter (7.56 seconds), sophomore Margaret Bamgbose in the 400-meter (54.08), senior Megan Yanik in the 500-meter (1:14.38), freshman Taylor Driscoll in the 800-meter (2:55.64), and senior Alexa Aragon in the mile (4:46.88).
It was a number of performances in field events though, Piane said, that made the Irish victorious. Junior Emily Morris claimed second in the shot put at 15.45 meters, junior Carly Loeffel finished third in the high jump (1.70 meters), and senior Jessie Christian went bronze in the long jump (5.79 meters).
“Emily Morris and Carly Loeffel both had good days,” Piane said. “Carly was third in the high jump… that was excellent. Without that performance, we don’t win.”
Piane said he was happy with the state of his teams heading into a big meet next weekend.
“At this stage, I feel great about the team,” Piane said. “We have a big couple of weeks coming up, but I’m confident we are ready to do well across the board.”
The Irish travel to Albuquerque on Jan. 31 for a two-day event at the New Mexico Invitational against New Mexico, Arizona State, and UCLA, among others. They will be back at home the following week for the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 8 at the Loftus Sports Center.
Contact Evan Anderson at email@example.com.