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Track and Field

Irish gather momentum heading into ACCs

| Monday, February 22, 2016

With only one week left before the ACC indoor championships, Notre Dame hosted the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday, and the Irish set set 12 personal records in preparation for the championship meet.

“As a team today, we had a dozen personal records set today,” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “So we’re peaking right at the right time, so I’m very satisfied with where my team is right now.”

Turner said Notre Dame accomplished one of its goals for the meet when women’s distance medley relay team of sophomore Jessica Harris and seniors Danielle Aragon, Margaret Bamgbose and Molly Seidel qualified for the NCAA championships.

“The women, we knew they were going to run very, very well, and we ran about 11 [minutes] flat … which is right where I thought we would run,” Turner said. “We could have run a little bit faster, Molly [Seidel] went down and ran the anchor leg in the 1600-meter, and that’s like an all-out sprint for her. So she doesn’t have quite the foot speed, but anything longer than that she’s lights out. She did what she needed to do, and we got the qualifying time for nationals.”

Before Seidel’s anchor, Aragon led off with the 1200-meter run while Bamgbose and Harris rounded out the event with the 400-meter dash and the 800-meter run legs, respectively.

Irish sophomore Jessica Harris, far right, leads a pack of runners during the 800-meter run Saturday. Harris was a part of the distance medley relay  team that posted a qualifying time for nationals at the meet.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Irish sophomore Jessica Harris, far right, leads a pack of runners during the 800-meter run Saturday. Harris was a part of the distance medley relay team that posted a qualifying time for nationals at the meet.

Turner said the men’s distance medley relay squad also put together a strong showing over the weekend. The team of juniors Jacob Dumford, Harvey Smith, Patrick O’Connell and Christopher Marco finished with a time of 9:31.20 which was sixth at the meet but stands 11th nationally.

“I’m very happy with the results today, especially my men’s men’s distance medley relay,” Turner said. “I didn’t expect a lot out of them today — we were basically running just to be in the fast heat of the ACC meet, but it looks like we may be on the verge of going to nationals, which was something I didn’t even think about at all.”

Turner also said both his men’s and women’s 800-meter runners’ performances at the Alex Wilson Invitational put them in a good position to make an impact in the ACC championship meet.

“[The 800-meter runners] ran very well today,” Turner said. “[Junior] Jamie Marvil had a [personal best] today. [Sophomore] Kirk Hansen had a big [personal best] today, and those times are some good solid times.”

Irish junior pole-vaulter Nathan Richartz approaches the bar during the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday at Loftus Sports Center.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Irish junior pole-vaulter Nathan Richartz approaches the bar during the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday at Loftus Sports Center.

In the field events, junior Nathan Richartz took first place in the pole-vault with a personal record of 5.43 meters, and junior thrower Anthony Shivers broke the school-record with a mark of 20.07 meters in the weight throw. Turner said he was especially excited for Shivers, who has come close to breaking the school record all season.

“I’ve talked about Shivers all season long,” Turner said. “He finally got over 20 meters and broke our school record. I gave him the [performer] of the meet. There’s a lot of them, but he’s the only one that actually broke a school record, so I’m happy for him. A lot of meets we had here other guys were throwing over 20 [meters] and for whatever reason he didn’t get to that mark, but today he got after it and finally broke the school record.”

The Irish also saw two familiar faces at the invitational as Notre Dame alumni Chris Giesting, ’15, and Rebecca Tracy, ’13, participated in the meet. Giesting won the 200-meter dash and came in second in the 400-meters, while Tracy set a personal-best mile time, finishing in 4:32.71. Turner said he likes seeing alumni race because it boosts the confidence of his current student-athletes.

It speaks volumes about this place, that we have alums who come back and run so well,” Turner said. “Giesting is one of my volunteer assistants, along with Jade Barber and Pat Feeney. … Having the alumni here and training and then coming back, that speaks volumes to the kids on the team now, who say ‘Wow, look at all these people running professionally. If they can do it, I can too.’ It just helps elevate our program all around.”

The Irish head to the ACC indoor championships next weekend, and after his team’s performance, Turner said his team should be confident going into the conference meet.

“We’re where we need to be, we really are,” Turner said. “I’m excited for next week.”

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About Marek Mazurek

Marek is a senior history major and is a former resident of Carroll Hall. He has lived in Mishawaka or South Bend for all 21 years of his life and covers Notre Dame football and men's basketball. He has loads of hand-eye coordination but lacks the height to be any good. Marek is also a proud esports supporter.

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