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Track and Field

Rae sets school record with 3:57 mile

| Monday, February 10, 2014

Notre Dame took advantage of their familiarity with the Loftus Center track to submit record-breaking performances at this year’s Meyo Invitational, including a new school record in the meet’s signature event, the Meyo Mile.

Irish graduate student Jeremy Rae was one of three runners to finish the mile race in less than four minutes, with his time of 3:57.25 edging out Loyola University Chicago’s junior Sam Penzenstadler (3:58.21) and fellow Irish graduate student Nick Happe (3:59.58). Eastern Michigan’s senior Grzegorz Kalinowski (4:00.91) and Notre Dame graduate student J.P. Malette  (4:00.92) rounded out the top five in the event.

Graduate student Jeremy Rae crosses the finish line for the mile at the Meyo Invitational on Saturday at Loftus Sports Center. Rae won the race in 3:57.25, which set a school record.Zachary Llorens | The Observer

Graduate student Jeremy Rae crosses the finish line for the mile at the Meyo Invitational on Saturday at Loftus Sports Center. Rae won the race in 3:57.25, which set a school record.

Rae’s 3:57.25 topped Notre Dame’s school mile record of 3:57.83, which was set by Luke Watson during 2002’s Meyo Invitational. Irish coach Joe Piane said that Rae’s performance has established him as one of the top runners in the ACC and the country.

“I’m very impressed, he ran extremely well,” Piane said. “He ran great, there’s no doubt about it. He put himself in position as one of the best milers in the country. Jeremy [Rae] is number one in the ACC [in the mile].”

Rae had already claimed victory in two past Meyo Mile races, winning his sophomore and junior seasons before missing the event with an injury his senior year. According to Piane, Rae’s record and the top-five finishes by Happe and Malette are the result of their relentless work ethics.

“[Rae] is a great leader and he works extremely hard,” Piane said. “Both he and Malette and Nick Happe, all in the mile, are very, very hard workers. Frankly, you wouldn’t get to be as good as they are if you did anything but work extremely hard. They put in the distance, they did everything that it takes to be good.”

In the women’s Meyo Mile, the top four runners, including Irish senior middle distance runner Kelly Curran, broke the meet’s record of 4:37.97, which was set in 2005 by Michigan’s Lindsay Gallo. The new record holder is former Michigan runner Amanda Eccleston (4.33.24), who was closely followed by former Notre Dame athlete Rebecca Tracy (4:35.36) and Rebecca Addison (4:35.95), both of whom were unattached runners. Curran led all collegiate runners with a time of 4:37.10, with Michigan’s junior Brook Handler (4:37.68) less than a second behind.

In the 1,000-meter race Friday, Irish sophomore Danielle Aragon finished first with a time of 2:48.70, less than a second short of Tracy’s record of 2:48.18 set last season. Between Rae and Curran’s record-breaking performances and Aragon’s near miss, Piane said he sees progress towards the completion of the team’s preseason goals.

“We’re getting better every week,” Piane said. “Everyone’s trying to get ready for the ACC meet, and then of course for the NCAAs. And Kelly [Curran]’s run certainly helps her get to the NCAA’s and I think it puts her at number one in the ACC. It certainly helps us. The two goals we have for every indoor and outdoor season is to do well at our conference meet … and get to the NCAAs, and I think we’re doing that.”

The Irish were able to take home victories in both 400-meter dashes. Junior sprinter Chris Giesting just shy of the meet record by running a 46.38, while senior Michelle Brown set a new women’s record for the Meyo Invitational with a time of 53.15. In the 400-meter relays, however, the Irish had less success, as the women’s relay fell victim to injury, while the men barely lost to Ohio State (3:08.34) by .05 seconds. Rather than be discouraged by the loss, however, Piane said he expects the runners to use the race as motivation.

“We ran against a very good team in Ohio State, and they nipped us, that’s all,” Piane said. “We can run faster than that. You have to run against good people, and realize you can run with them and beat them. You can’t run against the Little Sisters of the Poor every week. That’s why we’re running against some great competition.”

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