Track and Field
Five ND athletes earn All-American status at NCAAs
Marek Mazurek | Wednesday, March 18, 2015
When Notre Dame returned home from the NCAA indoor championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, it came back with three first-team All-American honorees and two second-team All-Americans.
Juniors Margaret Bamgbose and Molly Seidel earned first-team All-American honors in the 400-meter dash and 5,000-meter run, respectively, while the women’s distance medley relay team was also All-American, completing the Irish stable of winners.
Despite just sneaking in to the finals by eight thousandths of a second, Bamgbose finished sixth in the 400 with a time of 52.65 seconds, notching her sixth first-team All-American scroll. Irish head coach Alan Turner said he felt despite receiving first-team All-American honors, Bamgbose could have performed even better.
“I thought she should have run better in the preliminary race,” Tuner said. “When we knew she had finally made it, I said, ‘Well you’re going to have run a lot better in the final.’ If she had put together a little bit better race [I] think she could have and would have placed higher. I’m satisfied with her performance. Getting sixth in the country, that’s nothing to scoff at.”
Seidel also finished sixth in the 5,000, running a school-record 15:48.31 mark to earn her first All-American scroll in track and field.
“[Seidel] ran great,” Turner said. “She could have easily been third place instead of sixth. We are so happy for Molly. We knew she was going to run well; she had a great cross country season. Every time she’s stepped on the track for us she’s run great and she’s been injury-free.”
Notre Dame won first-team All-American honors for the women’s distance medley relay team in a strange way. The Irish initially finished in ninth place, but Villanova dropped the baton during the 400-meter portion of the relay and it was recovered by a fan. After Turner filed an appeal, the Wildcats were disqualified and the Irish slid into eighth, good for an All-American spot.
“I conferred with my assistant coaches to see if it was definitely Villanova that dropped the baton,” Turner said. “So I went in and protested the final results and it was upheld. It wasn’t the way we wanted to be first-team All-Americans, but you just can’t have people handing you the baton, you have to get it yourself.”
In addition to the three first-team All-Americans, seniors Jade Barber and Chris Giesting placed well enough to be second-team All-Americans. Barber finished in ninth place by just a thousandth of a second, finishing the 60-meter hurdles in 8.18 seconds. Giesting also finished ninth in the men’s 400 in 46.46 seconds. Turner said Barber’s near miss speaks to the difficulty of the task.
“[Barber and Giesting] had very, very solid performances,” Turner said. “In Jade’s case, that was her season’s best and she missed it by one one-thousandth of a second; the smallest of margins you can think of. That’s unfortunate because she had been seventh the last two years. That’s track and field and you just can’t take for granted that an All-American will automatically be an All-American the following season.
“With Chris, he ran at the end of January and he didn’t run until the ACC finals with a hip flexor. His hip’s ok now, but he still wasn’t quite in tip-top shape and I wasn’t able to train him exactly the way I wanted to going into the indoor nationals. If we had another week, which we didn’t, we would have been able to have him a bit more prepared for it. He wasn’t extremely disappointed; he came out and gave 100 percent.”
The Irish will now prepare for the outdoor season, which gets underway next week. Notre Dame will open at the Texas Relays and the Bobcat Invitational in Austin, Texas, and San Marcos, Texas respectively, from March 26 through March 28.