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Track and Field

Both Irish teams finish third at ACC championships

| Monday, March 3, 2014

In their first ever ACC Indoor Championships in Clemson, S.C., Notre Dame men’s and women’s teams both pulled out third-place finishes, and junior sprinter Chris Giesting was named the meet’s most valuable performer.

Irish graduate student Jeremy Rae runs during the Meyo Invitational at the Loftus Center on Feb. 8.Zachary Llorens

Irish sophomore Sydni Meunier runs during the Meyo Invitational at the Loftus Center on Feb. 8.

The men’s third place finish, however, was very close to being first place. Heading into Saturday’s final event, the 400-meter relay, the Irish sat in second place, just six points behind Florida State. The Irish relay, made up of Giesting, senior Pat Feeney, freshman Harvey Smith and senior Jarred Buchanon, was in the lead during the second leg of the race, but disaster struck when Buchanon dropped the baton. The Irish relay’s failure to finish meant they received zero points, dropping the team to third place. Smith said that the event was disappointing considering Notre Dame’s high expectations but gives them motivation for the NCAA Championships, the ACC outdoor season and beyond.

“It stings, I’m not going to lie,” Smith said. “We knew we probably should have won that race. Of course it’s motivation. It will give us something to fuel us. Success isn’t a very good teacher, but we’ll remember the loss.”

The men’s point total on the weekend was 84, bolstered by Giesting’s victory  in the 400-meter dash (46.43) and a pair of second place finishes by graduate student and middle distance runner J.P. Malette in the mile (4:09.58) and 3,000-meter run (8:16.33). Florida State and North Carolina came in first and second with 96 and 89 points, respectively.

The Irish women also came in third, with 65 points, thanks in part to a victory in the 60-meter hurdles by junior hurdler Jade Barber (8.19). Notre Dame’s 400-meter relay also had a strong performance, finishing second with a time of 3:40.05. Smith said the Irish believe they impressed the rest of the ACC in their first conference meet.

“I think we had higher expectations [for ourselves] than… the other teams,” Smith said. “We thought we had a shot at winning. Something went well, some things did not go well. But we thought we’d be right in the mix, and we were. I think [the other teams] were a little bit surprised because it was our first year in the conference.”

Notre Dame’s most impressive performer was undoubtedly Giesting, who took home meet MVP honors after earning 18 points for the Irish. His victory in the 400-meter dash, in which Feeney took second, was followed by a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.31. Smith said the veteran relished the opportunity to perform on a big stage.

“I was very impressed with Chris,” Smith said. “He completely stepped up, I’m pretty sure he PR’d [in the 200]. Running a 400 and a 200, and then coming back the next day and running a 400 again, and another 200, that’s a lot to ask out of a guy. And he completely delivered.”

The Irish have next weekend off before traveling to the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. on March 14-15.

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