Track and Field
Irish sends full squad to Charlottesville for Virginia Challenge
Marek Mazurek | Friday, April 22, 2016
For the first time in the outdoor season, Notre Dame plans to send its full team to Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend to compete in the Virginia Challenge.
“All our athletes that are healthy are going to run, all event groups,” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “This is one of the last major meets. … I’m just looking across the board to have some very good performances.”
Joining the Irish at the Virginia Challenge will be a large field of competitors, including many ACC squads. Notre Dame will see many of the same ACC schools in the coming weeks and certainly come the ACC outdoor championships in the middle of May. No matter the competition, Turner said the key for his squad is simple improvement.
“There will be a good number of ACC schools at the meet,” Turner said. “Obviously Virginia, Virginia Tech’s going to be there, North Carolina, North Carolina State is going to be there. I think Wake Forest is going to be there as well. Roughly almost half the conference is going to be there with a good mix of other schools. I’m just looking for us to get in some very good performances in a very competitive environment for us to keep on improving.”
In order to achieve that improvement, Turner spoke of the need to carry the momentum the team has from a strong showing last week at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“I will add that the whole team had a pretty good meet last week,” Turner said. “We had 16 personal bests last week. It doesn’t show up in the team score — we weren’t looking to load everybody up with two or three events and doing all of that. … We’re kind of more focusing on this weekend, getting in some very good performances and keeping that going.”
Some notable athletes will take to the field for the Irish, including senior All-American Margaret Bamgbose in the 400-meter dash and graduate student All-American Kaila Barber in the 100-meter hurdles. Senior All-American Molly Seidel will not be competing in Virginia and neither will freshman phenomenon Anna Rohrer; however a key member of the women’s distance team, senior Danielle Aragon, will be.
Aragon did not compete in the fall cross country season, as she was injured last season before the outdoor championships. Turner believes her return is coming along well and said how the Billings, Montana native races this weekend will give him a clue as to her potential for the outdoor championship meet.
“She’s getting there,” Turner said. “She’s going to run this weekend, and that’s going to tell us a lot. She’s one of those young ladies who’s on the verge of being that first-team All-American miler or 1,500-meter type of runner for us. It’s been a little nagging injury here and there that has held her up the last few seasons. We’ve taken it a little bit slower with her — and Molly and Anna — just to make sure that they’re ready to go at the end of the season.”
Another athlete, and in fact, another group that has a big role to play before the season’s end is junior Anthony Shivers and the Irish throwers, Turner said.
“[Shivers] is becoming a real valuable guy for us,” Turner said. “He’s super confident in the discus and the hammer [throw]. The thing about the hammer is [senior] Nick Hauser has been throwing great in the hammer too, so those guys have really, really stepped it up. Women’s and men’s throwing groups have really stepped it up this outdoor season, so we should get some pretty good points out of that group now. Indoors at the ACC meet, our women’s throwers didn’t score. That’s not going to be the case in the outdoor meet.”
The Irish travel to Charlottesville for action starting on Friday and continuing into Saturday.