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Track and Field: Irish take it outisde

Bill Brink | Thursday, March 22, 2007

Notre Dame travels to Tucson, Ariz., today to compete in the Jim Click Multi-Events/Shootout. The meet, which lasts until Saturday, is Notre Dame’s first outdoor competition of the season. After an indoor season that culminated in two All-America performances in the NCAA Championships, the Irish are making the transition to outdoor competition. Training and competing outside allows the team to practice skills it hasn’t worked on before and offers a break from the monotony of the Loftus Center.”The men and women in the 4-by-100-meter [relays] will do baton exchanges which basically we did not do at all at the beginning of the indoor season,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “And frankly, just getting outdoors is a joy.”The outdoor track is 400 meters long, twice as long as the standard indoor track. The length of the track could decrease the times posted by the runners.”In theory, it should be faster because the turns are so spacious,” Piane said. “Indoors it’s a little tight, but outdoors the radius is much larger.”Some events during the indoor season change once the team moves outside, and some events don’t exist during the indoor season. The discus and javelin throws and the 400 hurdles are exclusively outdoor events. Also, the 60-meter hurdles becomes the 100 hurdles for women and 110 hurdles for men.”You take a discus thrower or a javelin thrower, they’re waiting all season just to get outdoors,” Piane said. “So they’ve been training from September on just to get to the outdoor season.”The Shootout, which is primarily an individual meet, will give coaches a chance to see how athletes who have not yet competed handle their first meet.”I’m really anxious to see what [freshman] Balazs Molnar does in the 400 meter hurdles. He was one of the best intermediate hurdlers in Europe last year, so I’m really anxious to see what he can do during the outdoor season,” Piane said. “I’m anxious to see what [freshman] Jaclyn Espinoza can do in the discus. She’s throwing well already, but let’s see how well she can do.”Piane said he also excited to see how throwers, including junior Kyle Annen and senior Garet Koxlien, perform in their first competition of the season. Annen’s best hammer throw of the 2006 outdoor season was 61.46 meters at the Big East Championships. Koxlien’s season-best discus throw for the 2006 season came at the CalPoly Invitational, where he threw for 51.52 meters.”I’m anxious to see how the people who don’t have the opportunity to do those events start off the season,” he said.