Track and Field
Season Recap: Irish women place second, men third, in ACC
Matthew Garcia | Friday, May 16, 2014
While the school year may be over for some, Notre Dame’s season will not conclude until late July. With twelve top-five finishes in meets between the men and women, the team’s success in the 2013-2014 season has already been secured. Among these finishes, the Irish placed in second for the women and third for the men at the ACC outdoor championships, while both the men and women finished in third at the indoor conference championship.Two of Notre Dame’s top sprinters, senior Pat Feeney and junior Chris Giesting, were key to the men’s high finish, combining to score 28 points in two individual events and two relays. Both have already qualified for the NCAA regional meet in Jacksonville, Fla., with the chance to repeat as All-Americans in the 400-meter dash.
“Pat and Chris have a shot at once again placing at nationals, which would be huge for the team,” freshman sprinter Harvey Smith said.
In addition to Feeney and Giesting, Smith was quick to note the impact that graduate student distance runner Nick Happe has made on the team this year. Happe has run the fastest 5000-meter race on the team this season and dipped below the four-minute barrier in the mile during the indoor season.
“Coming over from [Arizona State], Nick was able to get a lot of points for us this year,” Smith said. “Hopefully, he makes it to nationals and does well there like he has all season.”
When Happe ran below four minutes in the Meyo Mile at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 8, he finished in third, just behind the winner, law student Jeremy Rae, who has been in the spotlight for most of the season. Rae’s time of 3:57.25 set a school record and was the fastest mile in the country at the time.
“Jeremy has been a huge part of the team, both in competition and at practice,” Smith said.
Notre Dame has had an equally successful season on the women’s side as well. Competing in the ACC outdoor championships for the first time, the women placed second overall, led by junior Jade Barber’s season-best time in the 100-meter hurdles.
The performance of both Barber and senior Michelle Brown throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons were a key component of the team. Barber was named an All-American after finishing in seventh in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor championships. Brown cut her personal best in the 200-meter dash by over a quarter of a second, a significant improvement.
“Michelle was another one who had a breakout-type year, for her it was in the 200-meter race,” Smith said. “And Jade was clearly one of the biggest stars of the team.”
The Irish will continue their outdoor season with the NCAA regional meet in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 29-31, followed by the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore., from June 11-14.