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Track and Field

Notre Dame readies for Drake Relays as ACC championships approach

| Wednesday, April 27, 2016

With only three weekends to go before the ACC outdoor championships, Notre Dame will gear up for the Drake Relays this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

As the name implies, the meet held at Drake University will focus on relay events, and the Irish are set to field teams in the women’s 4×100-meter, 4×200-meter and 4×400-meter relays. With three women’s relay teams competing, Irish head coach Alan Turner said he feels the women’s squad is ready for the weekend as well as the upcoming ACC championship meet.

“[This weekend], we go to Drake, [and] hopefully we get some good relay times,” Turner said. “After Drake, everyone is getting ready for finals, and then after finals, getting ready for the ACC meet. … We’re where we need to be on the women’s side.”

One key member of the women’s team — sophomore Jessica Harris — set a school record in the 800-meter run last weekend at the Virginia Challenge with a time of 2:05.26. Senior All-American Margaret Bamgbose also placed first in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a time of :52.50 in the 400-meter sprint.

Bamgbose will also be a factor for the Irish relay teams in competition this weekend. The Evanston, Illinois, native anchored both the 4×100 and 4×400 teams for Notre Dame at the Virginia Challenge and filled the role all season for the Irish.

Irish senior Margaret Bamgbose rounds a corner during the 400-meter dash at the Notre Dame Invitational on Jan. 24, 2015. Bamgbose took first place in the same event at the Virginia Challenge on Friday.Michael Yu | The Observer

Irish senior Margaret Bamgbose rounds a corner during the 400-meter dash at the Notre Dame Invitational on Jan. 24, 2015. Bamgbose took first place in the same event at the Virginia Challenge on Friday.

The 4×100 team took third place in Charlottesville with a time of :44.58, while the 4×400 squad placed second, completing the race in 3:34.71.

While he is pleased with the strength of the women’s team, Turner said injuries will likely hamper the men’s team from seriously chasing an outdoor ACC title.

“[For] the men’s team, [senior] Michael Clevenger still hasn’t suited up for us yet,” Turner said. “It’s unlikely that he will. [Junior] Nate Richartz, All-American pole vaulter, has some hamstring issues. He may or may not suit up this season. I’ll know a lot more in the next seven days if we’re going to call the season for him or not. … If it’s worth it to put him out there to go to the ACCs and he gets fifth or sixth place as opposed to, ‘let’s redshirt him,’ then we get him for a whole other year, and he can contend for ACC titles again.

“We are thin on the men’s team, we’re going to struggle a little at the ACC meet, but the women, we’re going to be fully loaded and ready to go and try to win that women’s title.”

Also competing for the Irish is junior thrower Josephine Jackson. Jackson goes by the nickname “Indi” and won the shot put at the Virginia Challenge with a throw of 15.02 meters. Turner said he expects Jackson, as well as senior thrower Lena Madison, to score points in the ACC championship meet.

“We’re definitely going to get some points in the shot [put] with Indi Jackson and get some points out of that hammer [throw],” Turner said. “[We will] see if we can get Lena to step up and get some points in the discus for us. We’re doing well in track, like I said earlier, and I definitely think the women’s team can contend to win that ACC outdoor title.”

Jackson will look to continue her solid performance this spring season, as she placed second in the shot put at the Sun Angel Classic on April 10 and tallied another first-place showing in the same event at the Stanford Invitational on April 3.

The Drake Relays are set to begin Thursday and will continue through Saturday.

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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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