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Track and Field

Records fall at final Notre Dame home meet

| Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three school records fell Saturday as Notre Dame hosted nearly 50 schools from across the country for the Alex Wilson Invitational, a final tune-up for the Irish before their first visit to the ACC Championships in Clemson, S.C., next week.

Saturday also marked the final home meet for Notre Dame’s senior class, as the Irish do not host during the spring outdoor season. Senior and captain Patrick Feeney said his final meet at Notre Dame was bittersweet.

“It was a pretty sad moment once I realized that the Alex Wilson was going to be the last meet I ran at Loftus in an ND uniform,” Feeney said. “The past four years have gone by extremely fast. … After four years, I know I made the right decision to run at [Notre Dame].”

Senior Patrick Feeney races in the 400-meter dash at the Notre Dame Invitational on Jan. 25. Feeney competed in two third-place relays Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational.Zachary Llorens

Senior Patrick Feeney races in the 400-meter dash at the Notre Dame Invitational on Jan. 25. Feeney competed in two third-place relays Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational.

In the men’s 400-meter dash, junior Chris Giesting claimed first by nearly a full second with a time of 45.89 seconds. That time ranks him fifth in the nation this year heading into the conference and national championships and claimed the Notre Dame record from Feeney, a fellow All-American.

Feeney said his and Giesting’s friendly rivalry has made both runners better.

“About two hours after we broke his distance medley record, he took down my indoor 400-meter record,” Feeney said. “I still believe there will be a few more record exchanges as we end this indoor season. Not many All-Americans are privileged enough to train with another All-American. I would not be running the times I do today without having him as a training partner.”

Irish coach Joe Piane said last week after the SPIRE Invitational that his chief goal was ensuring his men’s distance medley team qualified for the NCAA Championships next month. With a time of 9:29.43, graduate student Jeremy Rae, Feeney, freshman Jacob Dumford and graduate student Nick Happe accomplished just that Saturday, setting a school record in the process. The group finished third behind Indiana and Arkansas, but the sub-9:30 time was fast enough to qualify nationally.

Feeney said qualification in the distance medley was very important to him and his teammates.

“My first time ever going to nationals was my freshman year as part of the distance medley,” Feeney said. “It’s nice to end my career the same way.”

Among other top performers on the men’s side was graduate student J.P. Malette, whose time of 4:00.17 in the mile run was first among collegiate athletes and left him just milliseconds from breaking the elusive four-minute mile.

Freshman Nate Richartz and junior David Schipper finished first and second in the pole vault at 4.75 and 4.60 meters, respectively, and junior Dominick Padovano threw 18.58 meters to claim a third-place finish in the weight throw.

The Irish 4×400 relay of Giesting, Feeney, senior Jarrod Buchanon and freshman Harvey Smith finished at 3:07.58 and in third place behind ACC foes Florida State and North Carolina, setting another record mark.

The distance medley shone on the women’s side, as well. Seniors Kelly Curran, Michelle Brown and Alexa Aragon and sophomore Danielle Aragon, each an All-American, easily claimed first place with a time of 11:05.07. That time is 10th best in the nation this year.

The Irish women earned four other first-place finishes. In the pole vault, senior Kelly Burke earned a victory at 3.60 meters with sophomores Libby Schichtel and Allie Sullivan finishing in a tie for second at 3.45 meters. Senior Vivien Devaney easily took first in the weight throw at 19.60 meters, freshman Taylor Driscoll came in eighth in the mile with a time of 4:51.38, and sophomore Margaret Bamgbose ran the 400-meter dash in 53.40 seconds to claim a first-place finish.

The Irish are back in action Thursday and Friday when the ACC Championships begin in Clemson, S.C.

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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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