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Track and Field

Runners perform well under new coach

| Friday, May 15, 2015

In their first season with head coach Alan Turner at the helm, the Irish had a year filled with its share of dazzling veteran performances and emerging young stars, despite some setbacks along the way.

Notre Dame got off to a fast start at its own Blue & Gold Invitational on Dec. 5, winning 22 of 30 events.

Irish senior Chris Giesting runs a leg of a relay during the Notre Dame Invitational at Loftus Sports Center on Jan. 24.Michael Yu | The Observer

Irish senior Chris Giesting runs a leg of a relay during the Notre Dame Invitational at Loftus Sports Center on Jan. 24.

The star of the first few meets of the indoor season was freshman Jessica Harris, who broke the school record at 1,000 meters in her first race at the Blue & Gold Invitational. She proceeded to nab school records in the 600-meter and 800-meter runs at her next two meets.

“I doubt we’ll see anything like that happen for a long, long time,” Turner said of Harris’s performance.

Another indoor standout was junior Molly Seidel, who won five of her six races inside, took the ACC crown in the 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters and captured an All-American sixth-place finish at the NCAA indoor championship.

“The highlights are the folks who are doing the things really well for where I want to take the program … in the ACC and nationally,” Turner said.

Though Turner said she had a shaky start indoors, senior hurdler Jade Barber has put forth an impressive final season, finishing second in the ACC 60-meter hurdles before taking second-team All-American honors. Outdoors, she holds three first-place finishes in the 100-meter hurdles and the fourth-best time in the country.

Junior Margaret Bamgbose won a total of seven indoor races from individual and relay performances and went on to set a Notre Dame record while winning the 400-meter dash at the ACC championships. She also finished sixth at nationals, earning All-American honors.

Turner said he expects that with Seidel, Barber, Bamgbose, senior Emily Morris in the shot put and junior Danielle Aragon in the distance events, the Irish women have a strong chance of winning the upcoming ACC outdoor championships on May 14-16.

The men’s side has been riddled with injuries throughout the season, contributing to what Turner said was a “middle-of-the-road” season, but still had many strong individual performers.

Senior standout Chris Giesting was as strong as ever, finishing second in the ACC in the 400-meter dash and becoming a second-team All-American indoors. He has the NCAA’s 13th-best outdoor time.

Turner also said it was a good year to build for athletes like junior Michael Clevenger and sophomore Jacob Dumford, both distance runners, and freshman Greg Bombara in the javelin.

After the outdoor ACC championships, the qualifying Irish athletes will travel to the NCAA east regional, followed by the national championships starting June 10.

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