Track and Field
Irish to ease into new year at Wisconsin Open
Marek Mazurek | Friday, January 15, 2016
After more than a month off, Notre Dame returns to action Friday at the Wisconsin Open in Madison, Wisconsin.
At their last meet, the Blue and Gold Invitational, the Irish took home 14 first-place performances. However, Irish head coach Alan Turner said the goal for the Wisconsin Open will be to get the team back into shape as the season warms up.
“I hate to say it, but the goal of this meet is not to go out and score as many points as we can,” Turner said. “The goal is to go out there and get some very good performances, get the cobwebs off and … just get our legs back under us. Get the athletes back acclimated to competing again.”
Turner also said the team’s focus is on the sprints and field events, rather than distance events.
“None of our distance runners or Wisconsin’s distance runners will be [competing],” Turner said. “This is going to be more of a sprints, jumps and throws meet. The highest we’re going is the mile at this meet, and we’re not having any of our top milers competing.”
And with stars like senior Molly Seidel not running, attention will turn to other standouts like senior All-American sprinter Margaret Bamgbose, junior pole vaulter Nathan Richartz and junior thrower Anthony Shivers. Turner said he is looking forward to seeing how Richartz and Shivers, especially, continue to develop.
“I’m really excited to see how Anthony’s [Shivers] going to do,” Turner said. “And [Wisconsin’s] men’s thrower, that’s the NCAA champion a few years ago. … They’ve had some better athletes than us in men’s throw, so I’m anxious to see how [Shivers] competes against their throwers.
And Nate Richartz in the pole vault, he came on like gangbusters at the tail end of last year, and he had he is best opening meet of the year at the Blue and Gold [Invitational]. So I’m really anxious to see what he can do.”
Richartz placed first in the pole vault at the Blue and Gold Invitational with a jump of 5.05 meters, and Shivers placed first in the weight throw on a 19.24 meter toss.
Turner also said he is excited to compete against a high caliber program like Wisconsin and in a different setting to to prepare the team for the challenges it will experience in the ACC championships. In the NCAA preseason rankings, Wisconsin’s women’s team was ranked ninth.
“We’re going to Wisconsin because it’s a different venue,” Turner said. “We haven’t been there and that program is a strong program and one that’s won a lot of Big Ten titles in the last 20 years, so they have that tradition going on there. And they’ll have a pretty good crowd. I don’t think our kids are used to having that crowd. … The crowd’s really going to be on top of us the whole time, so it’s going to be a good experience to just really get their feet wet and get used to competing at this high level when they step on the track.”
The Wisconsin Open kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday morning in Madison, Wisconsin.