Track and Field
Young team looks experienced in Kentucky
Marek Mazurek | Monday, April 13, 2015
Young faces were abundant for the Irish on Saturday as Notre Dame competed in the ACC/Big Ten challenge in Louisville, Kentucky. The Irish paired up with Louisville and competed against the Michigan State and Indiana. Ultimately the two Big Ten schools came away with victories in both the women’s and men’s competitions.
Notre Dame and Louisville lost 89-76 in the women’s events, but Notre Dame rested many star athletes including juniors Molly Seidel and Margaret Bamgbose and senior Jade Barber. In their places, the Irish featured some underclassmen who took advantage of the opportunity and performed well, Irish head coach Alan Turner said. He attributed the performances over the weekend to his younger athletes being more comfortable in the collegiate environment.
“They’re just getting accustomed to competing now,” Turner said. “It’s our third outdoor meet. They’re just getting more accustomed to doing things.”
Freshman Parker English headlined the day for the women as she won both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints with times of 12.09 seconds and 23.71 seconds, respectively. Parker also led the 1,600-meter relay team to second place with a time of 3:37.13. Turner said English has come into her own so far this outdoor season.
“Indoors, [English] had a few little nagging injuries,” Turner said. “The steep learning curve she had early in the fall, learning my new drills, my new system, it’s really starting to kick in right now. She’s healthy. She’s confident. I think this meet right here will be the springboard for her for the rest of her career at Notre Dame.”
The women’s 400-meter relay teams also caught Turner’s attention, and he said he has tough decisions to make about who he wants on his top relay team. This week, the quartet included English, senior Michelle Rotondo, freshman Jordan Shead and senior Amber Lalla. However, Turner also has the All-American Bamgbose and Barber at his disposal. The coach said he is still working out who he wants to race in ACC championship.
“We’ll see how it plays out,” Turner said. “I’m still going to mix up the relays next week at Georgia Tech and the following week at the Drake relays. Every year I worry about who’s going to be that relay, but it just seems to work itself out every year. The four best ones rise to the top and that’s who we usually go with.”
In addition to the sprints, the Irish also saw first-place performances in multiple field events. Senior Mary Esther Gourdin won the triple-jump with a leap of 12.54 meters, sophomore Emily Carson won the long jump with a six-meter effort, and senior Carly Loeffel finished in first place in the javelin with a toss of 39.88 meters. Turner said he is counting on his field athletes come the ACC championship.
“I wasn’t surprised about Mary Esther,” Turner said. “She’s our school record holder in triple indoors and outdoors. Mary just needs to show up for us when we need her the most in the ACC championships.”
On the men’s side, the Big Ten claimed a 96-64 win, but the Irish were given victories from freshman Greg Bombara in the javelin with a throw of 64.65 meters and senior Keith Mesidor in the long jump, who had a winning jump of 7.29 meters. Turner said he is looking for continued success from both of the victors.
“Keith [Mesidor] was just under 24 feet in the men’s long jump, I wasn’t surprised about his performance,” Turner said. “I want him to consistently get in the 24 range and pop a 25-foot jump by the end of the year. [Bombara]’s gotten better. He broke a meet record and I think he’s like sixth or seventh right now in the ACC. He’s just going to get better and better each time he throws. ”
The Irish will split up next weekend as athletes will travel to the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta, the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California.