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Track and Field

Irish finish fourth in indoor meet

| Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Saturday, Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s teams both finished fourth overall at the Notre Dame Invitational. Despite strong individual performances, the day did not meet Irish head coach Alan Turner’s expectations for his team against the strong competition that included Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville.

“I think we really need to raise our intensity levels,” Turner said. “The first two competitions were what we call low key; there wasn’t a lot of great competition.

“Today, and going forward, the competition has really stepped up and Michigan came ready to perform, Michigan State performed, Louisville performed and we just seemed like we didn’t answer the bell so to speak, so we’ve got to pick it up. It doesn’t get any easier from here.”

Senior Danielle Aragon breaks away from the pack during  the Blue & Gold Invitational on Dec. 5, 2014 at Loftus Sports Complex. Wei Lin | The Observer

Senior Danielle Aragon breaks away from the pack during the Blue & Gold Invitational on Dec. 5, 2014 at Loftus Sports Complex.

The meet included some pleasant surprises for the Irish, however, including junior Nathan Richartz’s first-place finish in the pole vault.

“Nate today was outstanding in the pole vault,” Turner said. “He no-heighted last week at Wisconsin. I didn’t say a word to him; his coach didn’t say a word to him.

“He responded today with a big personal record, so I think he’s on his way and he’s someone now that puts himself in the picture. He can qualify for nationals.”

Coach Turner also listed sophomore Jordan Shead’s third-place finish in the women’s 600-meter run and freshman Anna Rohrer’s second-place finish in the women’s 3,000-meter run as two surprises of the day.

“[Jordan] broke our school record in the 600; we don’t run that often,” Turner said. “Anna Rohrer opened up her first college track race; she got second, but that time that she ran, I think, before this weekend will put her, like, fourth in the country. We’ll have to see the results come in from this weekend but that’s an excellent start for her.”

Turner was especially pleased to see two of his men’s 400-meter runners, juniors Harvey Smith and Alex Groesch, finishing first and second in the 200-meter dash.

“I was a touch surprised with Alex Groesch and Harvey Smith,” Turner said. “They’re known as 400-meter runners, they’re not known for 200, but they really got after it today. I wish my whole team would’ve given that type of effort.”

Based on Groesch and Smith’s performances this Saturday, Turner is optimistic about the rest of their seasons.

“Based on their performances today I think they can probably cut a half a second, each of them, off of their time,” Turner said. “If they do that, they have a great shot at making ACC finals, which would be kind of unexpected for them because their main event is the 400-meter not the 200-meter, so that’s a pleasant surprise.”

Despite solid moments from some of the Irish runners, Turner came away from the meet feeling unsatisfied.

“Even though it’s a team sport, it’s always the sum of individual efforts,” Turner said. “We did have some very good individual efforts on the men’s side, but we’re just — we’re just not fully loaded. Our bullet is in the barrel, so to speak.”

Notre Dame will have another chance to pick up its intensity next weekend at the Indiana University Relays in Bloomington, Indiana, with action at the two-day meet starting Friday.

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