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Track and Field: Irish begin indoor season with strong showing in West Lafayette

Jordan Beltz | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

While most of the student body was returning back to campus after Christmas break, a select group of Irish track and field team members competed in the Purdue Invitational, held Jan. 14 in West Lafayette.

After the four-week holiday break, the Irish turned in a good performance, earning two first-place finishes and six second-place finishes. Although both sides notched solid starts to 2006, both first-place finishes were earned on the women’s side.

The jumpers and throwers turned in the best performances of the weekend, with the Irish women sweeping the high jump competition. Freshman Lauren Biscardi took home top honors, clearing 1.68 meters to lead the way. Emily Loomis and Cassie Gullickson also were able to clear 1.68 meters, which meant the final order was determined by a jumpoff.

Freshman Mary Saxer, fresh off of her NCAA qualification in the pole vault that she earned at the Blue and Gold Invitation in December, took home the pole vault title with a vault of 3.80 meters.

“I’m pretty happy with how it went,” Saxer said after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. “It wasn’t my best jump, but being my first college meet, and looking at where I am at this point in the season, I’m pleased.”

Other notable performances on the women’s side of the ledger were turned in by Alyissa Hasan, who earned a berth in the Big East Championship with a long jump of 5.43 meters, and senior Meghan Horn, who was the runner up in both the shot put and weight throw events.

While the women turned in a stellar performance, the men showed a marked improvement from their first meet as well. The men saw their biggest improvement take place in the weight throw, with all four participants in the event bettering their marks from the last meet.

Junior Garet Koxlien lead the way, finishing second with a throw of 16.45 meters, followed by sophomore Kyle Annen in third.

After Saturday’s event, the Irish have now qualified 29 athletes for the Big East Championships in 20 different events, along with the spot that Saxer has locked up for the NCAA Championship to be held in May.

The Irish will return to action this Saturday for the Notre Dame Opener, to be held in Loftus. The Opener marks the first of three consecutive home meets on the indoor track and field schedule.