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Track and Field

Irish struggle to keep up with top talent

| Monday, February 2, 2015

Last weekend Notre Dame competed in the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the women’s team finished tied for seventh place and the men’s team settled for 11th.

Many of the dozen teams competing in the meet were high-ranked programs such as No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 5 Arkansas on the women’s side and No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Arkansas and No. 4 Texas A&M competing in the men’s field. Notre Dame head coach Alan Turner said that his team learned a lot by racing against some of the best teams in the country.

“We learned really quickly that a less than stellar showing on Friday wasn’t good at all,” Turner said. “We learned really quickly that if you don’t bring your very best effort against the best, it’s not going to turn out well.”

Despite where his team finished, Turner said the Irish improved on the second day.

“We responded Saturday,” Turner said. “It doesn’t reflect that in the team standing because we were in such a big hole to begin with the team scores. The team finally woke up and competed. I think that team realized they can compete with the very best teams in the country, but its going to require their very best effort.”

A bright spot for the Irish was senior Chris Giesting, who broke the school record in the 200-meter with a time of 21.02 seconds to beat the former record of 21.11 seconds. Turner said Giesting is one of Notre Dame’s best athletes.

“[Chris] has been a Big East champion in [the 200-meter] and now he’s All-ACC,” Turner said. “He’s one of the top 20 guys in the country in the 200-meter. Chris basically just proves that he’s probably the best overall sprinter we’ve had in school history. Right now he currently holds indoor school records: 200-meter, 400-meter, 500-meter, 600-meter and the 4×4 relay. He’s one of Notre Dame’s all-time best, in my opinion.”

Another highlight for the Irish was freshman Jessica Harris, who broke the school record for the 800-meter event previously held by junior Danielle Aragon. Harris’ time of 2:06.91 also places her in the top six in the country for the 800-meter race. Turner said he is excited to see Harris continue to improve.

“We definitely expect [Harris] to get better at it as she goes along,” Turner said. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a freshman have three different races, three different events, three different school records. When I spoke to her after the race on Saturday I said, ‘We just need to continue to get better, continue to get faster.’ The goal is to try and win the ACC title in the 800-meter.”

The Irish are now less than a month away from the ACC indoor championships and Turner said the team’s performance in the Razorback Invitational will help the Irish going forward.

“[The Razorback Invitational] will help us tremendously going forward into the ACC championship,” Turner said. “Especially for our young folks who are on the verge of qualifying for the national championships.”

The Irish next compete Saturday in the Meyo Invitational at Loftus Sports Center. The action begins Friday at 4 p.m. and resumes Saturday at 10 a.m.

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About Marek Mazurek

Marek is a senior history major and is a former resident of Carroll Hall. He has lived in Mishawaka or South Bend for all 21 years of his life and covers Notre Dame football and men's basketball. He has loads of hand-eye coordination but lacks the height to be any good. Marek is also a proud esports supporter.

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