Track and Field
Irish individual competitors cruise to top finishes
Matthew Garcia | Monday, April 7, 2014
The Irish men and women put in stellar performances over the weekend at the Stanford Invitational. While the weekend was highly successful for the team, even more impressive were the national ranks achieved by the athletes.On the women’s side, junior hurdler Jade Barber took home the victory in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.13 seconds, putting her eighth in the NCAA for outdoors competitions this season. Sophomore sprinter Margaret Bamgbose finished second in the 400-meter dash (52.74), also giving her fifth place in the nation. In the first heat of the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, senior Alexa Aragon finished sixth, matching her current NCAA rank, with a time of 10:14.29. Michelle Brown finished first in the second heat of the women’s 200-meter dash, setting a personal record with a time of 23.75 seconds.
The men saw similar accolades come their way, starting with the first heat of the men’s 400-meter dash. Senior Patrick Feeney finished first in 45.56 seconds, while teammate junior Chris Giesting finished behind him at 45.62 seconds. The two currently hold the second- and fourth-best times in the NCAA for the event. Freshman sprinter Harvey Smith said that the run by Feeney was a big personal accomplishment.
“Pat set a personal record by about half a second which is a huge personal record for him,” Smith said. “He had been wanting to go 45 [seconds].”
Senior Jarrod Buchanon ran a season-best 52.14 in the 400-meter hurdles, but Smith said he knows his teammate is capable of an even greater time.
“He feels like he can break into 51 [seconds], so that is a big goal for him,” Smith said.
Graduate student Nick Happe took home the top spot in the NCAA by running the men’s 5,000-meter race in 13:43.55.
While the rest of his team faired exceptionally well, Smith was critical of his own relay time. However, he said he continues to focus on the positive side.
“The good news is there is a lot of room for improvement and all of us can drop our times so there is hope there,” Smith said.
With the Irish having traveled almost 7,000 miles in the last two weeks, Harvey noted that the team has had a challenging time.
“Going to California this weekend and Texas last weekend, just a lot of travelling, [it] wears us down,” Smith said. “It is very exhausting. We are all tired, so this is a good week to gain our energy back.”
Though the Irish will participate in the Border Battle next weekend, some athletes will not make the trip to Kentucky, Smith said.
“I know some people are going to the meet next weekend and some people aren’t,” Smith said. “So we’re trying to renew ourselves before the ACC tournaments start in two weeks.”
The Irish will compete in the Border Battle, beginning Friday in Louisville, Ky.