Track and Field
Sprinters stand out at Stanford
Marek Mazurek | Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The Irish sprinters shone in Palo Alto, California, as Notre Dame traveled to compete in the Stanford Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
Led by senior Chris Giesting and junior Margaret Bamgbose, the Irish took first place in both the men’s and the women’s 400-meter sprints and 4×400-meter relays. Irish head coach Alan Turner said he felt the team had a successful weekend.
“This meet as a whole, I was pretty satisfied,” Turner said. “As a coach, there’s always an athlete or two who doesn’t have a great performance that could have been a lot better, but the majority of the athletes did really well this weekend.”
Giesting, who has been battling minor injuries, posted a time of 45.93 seconds in the 400-meter sprint for his first individual win of the year in the event. Turner said Giesting’s health was a key to his victory.
“[Giesting]’s feeling much better than he did at the indoor ACC meet,” Turner said. “He ran very well. He ran pretty evenly. As the season progresses, he’s going to be able to get out a little bit faster in the first half [of the race] which will help him for the second half. My key for Chris is … to keep him healthy and keep him fresh. Part of the way I’m doing that is not to overrun him.”
On the women’s side, Bamgbose also finished the 400 in first place with a time of 52.38 seconds. Turner said he was looking for Bamgbose to have a good showing at her first outdoor 400.
“I didn’t give her any specific instructions that were different that what we’ve done all year,” Turner said. “The only thing I told her was, ‘It’s your first outdoor 400 meters, let’s go out there and get a good solid time.’ It’s one of her best outdoor times. For her first outdoor race, it’s a good start.”
Giesting and Bamgbose also led their respective 4×400-meter relay teams to first place finishes. The men’s team, which finished eighth at the Texas Relays last weekend, was comprised of freshman Eric Ways, sophomore Harvey Smith, sophomore Alex Groesch and Giesting. The team finished with a time of 3 minutes, 8.61 seconds.
Similarly, the women’s relay team improved from their seventh place finish at the Texas Relays with a time of 3 minutes, 35.17 seconds. The Irish women’s team included Bamgbose, freshman Parker English, senior Amber Lalla and freshman Jordan Shead. Turner said this improvement was due to the team’s familiarity with the outdoor environment.
“I think we were just really getting used to being outdoors,” Turner said. “My kids ran a lot faster this week than they did at Texas and I think it was just getting that first meet out of the way. Before we had gone to Texas, we only worked outdoors in South Bend one time. I think it was them getting acclimated to being back outdoors.”
The Irish fielded a second women’s 4×400-meter team which finished in fourth place with a time of 3 minutes, 43.87 seconds. The second team was made up of freshman Payton Miller, senior Kalia Barber, senior Michelle Rotondo and senior Jade Barber. Turner said he was not expecting the second relay team’s stellar performance.
“I knew the ‘A’ team was going to run very well,” Turner said. “And I entered a second team because I knew we had some depth in that event. I was a little bit surprised with the women’s ‘B’ team 4×400 doing as well as they did. I’m going to have a little bit of a dilemma on my hands determining … who’s going to be the top four on that women’s [4×400-meter relay]. It’s a good dilemma to have.”
In addition to anchoring the women’s 4×400-relay team, Jade Barber also won her second consecutive 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.33 seconds. Turner said even though she ran well in the relay, her focus will be on the 100-meter hurdles.
“Jade Barber ran the anchor leg for the ‘B’ team [in the 4×400-meter relay],” Turner said. “She had a pretty good lead when she got the baton and she just extended it by another 20 meters. If Jade keeps running pretty fast on her relay leg, I may have to put her on the ‘A’ team pretty soon. But with Jade, we’re just concentrating her on the 100-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash.”
In addition to the sprints, the Irish distance runners posted respectable scores. In the 5,000-meters, junior Michael Clevenger finished with a time of 13 minutes, 56.24 seconds to get eighth in his section while junior Molly Seidel posted a time of 15 minutes, 52.41 seconds, good for 15th place overall in the women’s competition. Turner said he was satisfied with Clevenger’s and Seidel’s showings.
“It was [Clevenger’s] first race since the ACC indoors and he did very well,” Turner said. “We weren’t trying to kill ourselves in distance, but get a real good race in that’s going to get us into the [NCAA] regional, and Michael definitely did that and Molly Seidel definitely did that. I’ve very pleased with them and how they ran.”
Notre Dame’s next competition is the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next weekend in Lexington, Kentucky.