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Track and Field

Irish men’s and women’s teams impress in indoor season

| Friday, May 13, 2016

With the women’s team placing fifth at the NCAA indoor championships, this season has been a historic one for Notre Dame.

Leading the women’s team to its fifth-place finish was senior Molly Seidel, who collected Notre Dame’s first individual track and field national championship in women’s program history in the 5,000-meter run on March 11. The next day, Seidel won the NCAA championship in the 3,000-meters.

“[Seidel’s] season is definitely one that is historic and for the record books,” Turner said. “Last year becoming our first individual NCAA champion and she just kept that going on a roll this year. She is the best distance runner we’ve had. She’s becoming one of the elite runners in the country with big sights on making the Olympic team in the 10,000-meters. She wants to duplicate, and try to double outdoors that 10,000 title and the 5,000 for us. She is the face of the program, she has helped our recruiting, helped bring in Anna Rohrer, the other young lady that we have. I can’t say enough about the things that Molly’s done not only for our program but for herself and just women’s distance running in general. So she’s a student athlete we’re just blessed to have on our team.”

Irish senior Molly Seidel cruises to victory in the 3,000-meter run on Feb. 6 at the Meyo Invitational at Loftus Sports Complex.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Irish senior Molly Seidel cruises to victory in the 3,000-meter run on Feb. 6 at the Meyo Invitational at Loftus Sports Complex.

In addition to Seidel, Turner noted the performances of graduate student Kaila Barber and junior Anthony Shivers, who helped the women’s and men’s teams to third and seventh place finishes at the ACC indoor championships, respectively.

“Kaila Barber made All-American in the 60-meter hurdles; that has not been her best event traditionally,” Turner said. “Her twin sister [Jade Barber] was our school record holder and with Kaila coming out and breaking her school record and becoming a first team All-American that was definitely a big surprise for us.”

On the men’s side, the thrower Shivers has been commended throughout the season for his breakout performance, making significant strides this year compared to years past.

“I think a big contributor was sort of how I performed last season,” Shivers said. “I came out, just kind of disappointed and kind of looking for ways to improve and be better. I knew I had to change something because what I was doing last year wasn’t working, so I think it really had to do with little things. I just did the little things a lot better this year, whether it was eating a better diet or rehabbing minor injuries better or just putting that little bit of extra effort at the end of a practice, it really sort of added up.”

The Irish will compete in the ACC outdoor championships this weekend, and Turner said he is happy with his team’s mental preparation for the conference championship meet.

“I think they grew in the fact that, they come into competitions and they expect to win,” Turner said. “A lot of times before we were getting better and it was like, ‘Ok we know we can beat some of these lower ranked teams and opponents but can we really come in against the top people in the country and beat them?’ I think all the All-Americans we had this year, they just had the confidence to say, ‘Hey it doesn’t matter who we line up against in the NCAA, I’ve got a chance to win this if I actually perform,’ and they just come into it with [a] much better mentality this year than years past.”

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