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Track and Field

Molly Seidel snatches two more national titles

| Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Molly Seidel expanded her trophy case this weekend as the senior won both the 3,000-meter and the 5,000-meter national championships at the NCAA indoor championships in Birmingham, Alabama.

“Molly is incredible, she’s ‘The Girl on Fire,’” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “She broke her own school record in the [five kilometer] for the third time in collegiate history. She made it look easy, when we all know how extremely difficult it is. Then she comes back the next day and wins the [three kilometer] for her fourth overall NCAA title. Not only has she elevated her running, but her distance teammates and the team as well. I am so happy for her.”

Seidel said she was nervous coming into the meet, but noted that she was confident enough in her abilities and her training to pull out the two national titles.

“Definitely coming in it had been my goal for the whole season to try and go after the double [championship] and knowing that it was going to be an enormous amount of great competition there,” Seidel said. “I was definitely nervous but very excited for it and very confident in the work that I had put in. It was a lot of nerves that I was facing, but I was just so ready to get out there and race.”

To pull out the victories, Seidel pointed to patience and the influence of assistant coach Matthew Sparks.

“I think patience has probably been one of the biggest factors, not necessarily my own, but with Coach Sparks,” Seidel said. “He’s been great with kind of sacrificing trying to run really fast at the beginning of the season and run a ton of meets for quality. He makes sure that my training is progressing well and that I’m getting in a solid amount of rest and recovery and building in a solid enough base so that I still have energy and gas left in the tank by the time that I get to the end of the season.”

With her recent victories, Seidel now holds four national championships, adding to titles won in the outdoor 10,000-meter run and cross country in 2015.

To go along with Seidel’s winning performance, the women’s team finished fifth overall in the indoor championships.

Sophomore Jessica Harris maintains the lead in the distance medley relay at the Alex Wilson Invitational on Feb. 20.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Sophomore Jessica Harris maintains the lead in the distance medley relay at the Alex Wilson Invitational on Feb. 20.

We finished 13th outdoors last season, eighth in cross country this season and now fifth indoors. It’s the highest we have ever finished and first time in the top 10 for a women’s track team in ND history,” said Turner, “My goals for the program when I took the job last year were to finish in the top 10 in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. We are well on our way to making that happen. I’m proud of the entire team.”

On its way to the fifth place finish, every Notre Dame athlete entered in the meet came back a first-team All-American. Coach Turner noted being especially pleased with the performances of sophomore Parker English and junior Jamie Marvil in the distance medley relay, who ran in place of senior Margaret Bamgbose and Seidel who qualified.

“Parker English and Jamie Marvil were competing in their first NCAA championships,” said Turner, “We didn’t run Margaret or Molly, due to them having to run hard on back-to-back days in their individual events. Parker and Jamie ran great legs for us. Parker’s 54.79 [seconds] 400-[meter] split and Jamie’s 800 split of 2:07.69 were great, even though their baton exchange was botched and Jamie ran into the official who was responsible for lining up the outgoing runners.”

Turner also noted sophomore Jessica Harris and senior Danielle Aragon’s contribution to the relay.

“Jessica Harris ran an excellent opening 1,200 leg and [Danielle] Aragon finished the 1,600 leg in a very swift 4:34.67. Their time of 11:01.86 is the fifth best in [Notre Dame] history,” Turner said.

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