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Track and Field

Irish set for ACC meet

| Thursday, February 27, 2014

Notre Dame travels to Clemson, S.C., on Thursday to compete at the ACC Indoor Championships for its first time in its debut season in the conference.

The Irish will compete against the ACC’s best Thursday through Saturday in a field that features a pair of USTFCCCA top-25 teams each on each side: No. 13 North Carolina and No. 24 Duke for the women, and No. 6 Florida State and No. 19 Pittsburgh for the men — in addition to the Irish men, who are ranked No. 10.

The Irish head south just days after hosting their final home meet of the season at the Alex Wilson Invitational. On the women’s side, the distance medley team of seniors Kelly Curran, Michelle Brown and Alexa Aragon and sophomore Danielle Aragon claimed a first-place finish with a time of 11:05.07 that qualified as 10th best nationally on the year.

Irish coach Joe Piane said the distance medley was just one of many events he was looking forward to on the women’s side.

“It’s such a strong field … hurdles is always an excellent event, the 400, the mile relay, all of the distance events,” Piane said. “It’s going to be an excellent weekend.”

Other top performers included senior Vivien Devaney, who won the weight throw with a school-record 19.60 meters, and sophomore Margaret Bamgbose, whose time of 53.40 seconds won the 400-meter dash to round out a strong day for the Notre Dame women.

The Irish men broke three school records at the Alex Wilson Invitational. Junior Chris Giesting set a new mark in the 400-meter dash, taking the record from senior teammate and fellow All-American Patrick Feeney with a stellar time of 45.89 seconds.

“Patrick and Chris are like brothers. When you get into a fight with your brother, all you want to do is beat them up, then hug them afterwards,” Piane said. “That’s exactly what you want out of competition.”

However, Feeney staked claim to a pair of records to compensate for the one he lost, as the Irish set record times in both the distance medley and 4×400-meter relays. The distance medley manned by graduate students Jeremy Rae and Nick Happe along with Feeney and freshman Jacob Dumford finished in 9:29.43, a mark that earned just a third-place finish but qualified the Irish for the event nationally. The 4×400-meter relay run by Giesting, Feeney, senior Jarrod Buchanon and freshman Harvey Smith also finished in record time at 3:07.58.

Notre Dame’s performance made a statement that was noted nationwide. The men’s team leapt from 20th to 10th in the USTFCCCA Top 25, its largest jump of the season and the third largest jump of the week among ranked teams.

Piane said the momentum from such a strong weekend would carry over for his squad.

“Three school records, plenty of strong performances … all of those events are going to be run this weekend, and we are going to have to do well in all of them,” Piane said. “We are definitely coming in on a high note.”

Piane also said that it was very important that the Irish make a strong impression in their first year of ACC competition.

“Notre Dame is in the ACC now, and we are going to make a statement,” Piane said. “It isn’t just us, it was men’s soccer, it’s men’s basketball, it’s across the board. No one ever goes in saying they want to finish third… we want to win this weekend. That’s always the goal.”

The action begins at the ACC Championships in Clemson, S.C., on Thursday for the Irish and continues through Saturday.

Contact Evan Anderson at eander11@nd.edu

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About Evan Anderson

Sophomore from Ann Arbor, MI in Sorin Hall intending to major in Finance. Avid fan of the NBA and my Tigers, Pistons, and Lions.

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