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Track and Field

Irish continue outdoor season at Stanford Invitational

| Friday, April 1, 2016

After the women’s team placed fifth in the NCAA indoor championships to end Notre Dame’s indoor season, both Irish squads opened their outdoor seasons last weekend at the Yellow Jacket Invitational and the Raleigh Relays. With both competitions being held on March 25 and 26, Notre Dame’s sprinters participated in the Invitational, while the long-distance runners traveled to the Relays.

Notre Dame’s top performer of the weekend was graduate student Kaila Barber, who took first place in both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles at the Yellow Jacket Invitational. Barber’s time for the 100-meter hurdles was 13.04 seconds, while she completed the 400-meter hurdles in 57.53. Barber was named the ACC Performer of the Week on Tuesday for her performance

Sophomore Jordan Shead also competed in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing behind Barber in sixth place with a time of 1:00.04.

Shead and Barber took third place in the women’s 4×400-meter relay alongside sophomores Payton Miller and Parker English. Freshman Kyla Lewis replaced Shead for the 4×100-meter relay, where the Irish finished fifth with a time of 46.01.

In the field events at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, freshman Matthew Birzer took fourth place in the high jump with a height of 2.05 meters. Birzer finished second at the ACC indoor championships and said his most recent performance is not indicative of his full potential.

“I would have liked to have done better,” Birzer said. “It was a little bit frustrating. I jumped [7′ 1″] at the conference meet and came out and jumped 6′ 8.25″, I think it was. Things just weren’t quite clicking right. It’s hard to be too disappointed — since it’s the first meet of the outdoor season, I haven’t jumped in a month, but ideally, I would have done better.”

Going forward, Birzer said he plans to get his jumps in a more even range. 

“I’m looking to get more consistent,” Birzer said. “My jump at [the ACC] conference [championships] was three and a half inches better than I’ve ever jumped before. So if I can consistently get 6′ 11″, 7′ — that would be great.”

Since his personal-best jump at the ACC indoor championships, Birzer said he now feels more pressure to perform at a high level.

“Now, every time I don’t jump 7′ 1″, it’s going to be like, ‘Man, I could have done better,’” Birzer said.

At the Raleigh Relays, freshman Rachel DaDamio led the way with a sixth place finish in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:24.85. Junior Lexi Pelletier and sophomore Ashlyn Rambo also crossed the finish line in 40th and 47th place, respectively, in the event.

The Yellow Jacket Invitational and the Raleigh Relays marked the first events of Notre Dame’s outdoor season, which will continue this weekend at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California. As the outdoor season picks up, Birzer said the team will look to increase its intensity.

“Outdoors, it’s a different season,” Birzer said. “We’ve taken close to a month off for a lot of us. So it’s a lot of time off, things go away in that time, so we’re getting back into it, and outdoors is a beast in and of itself. A lot of the groups right now are training a lot harder just because we are looking towards that end goal, which is a month down the line…conference, regionals and then nationals.”

The Irish will compete in the Stanford Invitational starting Friday.

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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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