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Track and Field

Irish excel in two weekend meets

| Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This past weekend, Notre Dame sent competitors to both the Iowa State Invitational and the SPIRE Division I meet and came away with outstanding performances on both the men and women’s sides as it heads into the final stretch before the ACC indoor championships.

Irish sophomore Kirk Hansen sets his sights on the runner ahead of him during the 800-meter run at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 6 at Loftus Sports Center. Hansen finished in 17th place in the event.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Irish sophomore Kirk Hansen sets his sights on the runner ahead of him during the 800-meter run at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 6 at Loftus Sports Center. Hansen finished in 17th place in the event.

On Friday, the dynamic duo of senior Molly Seidel and freshman Anna Rohrer placed first and second, respectively, in the 5,000-meter run at the Iowa State Invitational, notching personal bests in the process. Seidel broke her own school record with a time of 15:47.07, and Rohrer was right behind her with a time of 15:47.78.

“They weren’t running all out, which is pretty scary, especially considering how good Molly is getting right now,” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “I’ve said it before, but she is just taking everything to another level. Anna is following right behind her. She’s also a super talented individual as well. … Those two have just been lights out for us this entire season, and what they did at Iowa State was actually expected.”

Another top performer for the women was graduate student Carly Loeffel, who took home the top spot in the pentathlon at the SPIRE meet with a score of 4,019 points. Additionally, the women’s 4×400-meter relay of sophomores Jordan Shead and Payton Miller, senior Margaret Bamgbose and graduate student Kaila Barber came in second on Saturday in the SPIRE meet with a time of 3:37.87, their best time up to this point in the season and second best in the conference.

Turner said he was very pleased with the progress Loeffel has made this season as she looks to get back to the NCAA tournament.

“She’s where she needs to be right now, and she’s going to have to duplicate those efforts in couple weeks at the ACCs,” Turner said. “She’s been to the NCAAs in her sophomore year, so she has tasted being on the big stage, and she just wants to get back there. … Hopefully [in the coming weeks] we can maximize all of our points in the women’s team and bring home an ACC title.”

On the men’s side, the Irish performed admirably, as a number of team members set personal bests. In the high jump, sophomore Hunter Holton placed fifth with a jump of 2.06 meters, and freshman Matthew Birzer finished 10th with a personal best of 1.96 meters. In the 3,000-meter run, sophomore Kevin Pulliam finished 11th with a personal-best time of 8:17.84, and senior Timothy Ball came in 13th with his own personal record of 8:18.28.

Additionally, juniors Chris Marco and Jacob Dumford finished 14th and 15th in the mile, respectively. Both edged closer to the 4-minute mark with nearly-identical times of 4:03.81 and 4:03.85, which Turner said is great so long as they continue to improve their placement in the conference.

“If they can put themselves in good positions for the ACC they are going to place very high for us,” Turner said about Marco and Dumford. “But right now, it’s [less about hitting 4 minutes and] more about placing as high as they can in the ACC, whether that’s 3:59 or 4:05 that gets us the victory.”

With the ACC championships only two weeks away, the Irish are in the midst of preparation for the final stretch run, and that preparation continues this coming weekend when the team hosts the Alex Wilson Invitational in Loftus Sports Center on Saturday. The meet is set to start at 10 a.m.

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About Tobias Hoonhout

Toby is a junior PLS/Economics double major from Smithtown, New York.

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