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Track and Field

Irish start indoor season with wins in 12 events

| Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Notre Dame racked up 12 wins in the Blue & Gold Invitational on Friday at the Loftus Sports Center to begin the indoor season.

Eight second-place finishes, highlighted by two down-to-the-wire 4×400 relays to end the competition, added to the team’s successful day. Head coach Alan Turner said that he hadn’t known what to expect from the Blue & Gold meet.

“The first meet is like a box of chocolates — you don’t know what you’re going to get until you bite into it. [Friday], we took that first bite,” Turner said. “There were some very good things, and we also had performances that [weren’t great], but the thing is it’s only December 2nd. We’ve got six weeks until the next meet, so we still have time to improve and at the end of the season, a lot of people are going to forget about this first meet. The people that did do well today, we’re going to build upon that and they should have some great seasons. And the people that didn’t do well, we still got six weeks till the next meet, so they should have time to recover.”

Irish sophomore Zachary Zajdel crosses the finish line in the 60-meter dash during the Blue and Gold Invitational on Friday.Chris Collins | The Observer

Irish sophomore Zachary Zajdel crosses the finish line in the 60-meter dash during the Blue and Gold Invitational on Friday.

In the 60-meter dash, senior Tommy Grant (6.87) finished first and sophomore Zachary Zajdel (6.97) finished second. Zajdel again came in second in the 200-meter race with a time of 22.11 seconds, just behind senior Alex Groesch (21.91). Groesch also grabbed the top spot in the 400-meter dash (48.47).

The Irish men nearly captured victory again in the 4×400 relay, but in a dramatic ending, senior John Rutkowski, junior Drake Stimson, senior Patrick O’Connell and Groesch, finished .01 second(3:14.82) behind first-place DePaul (3:14.81).

In the field, sophomore Matthew Birzer finished first in the high jump (2.15m), just shy of his personal record of 2.17m. Senior Nate Richartz snagged the top spot in the men’s pole vault (5.00m), and senior Anthony Shivers claimed second in the weight throw (19.10m).

On the women’s side, senior Indi Jackson won the shot put (15.05). Freshmen Summer Thorpe and Naya Sharp ended up first and third, respectively, in the women’s 60-meter hurdles. Sharp also placed third (7.63) in the women’s 60-meter m dash and second (5.59m) in the long jump. Junior Allison Bartoszewicz won the women’s 200m dash (25.29), while Thorpe placed second (25:57). Irish associate head coach Matt Sparks explained the level of importance of Friday’s meet.

“We’ve got a lot of young kids on the team that needed to gain the experience of what college athletics is like, so this is a pretty low-key event that allowed them to see where their conditioning is after a long semester of school and training,” Sparks said. “In a lot of ways this meet is almost an exhibition, because there are no team scores, and probably only three-fourths of the team competed with the distance runners taking the meet off, so once again it’s just an opportunity for a lot of the younger kids to show the coaching staff what they’re going to be able to do for us this year.”

The team has a break of six weeks before traveling to Champaign, Illinois, at 11 a.m. Jan. 14 to compete in the Illini Classic.

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About Joe Everett

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