The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Track: Irish look to record additional qualifiers

bill Brink | Friday, April 20, 2007

Heading into this weekend’s meets, Notre Dame has earned 16 bids to the NCAA Mideast Regional meet. The Irish, however, are far from finished.

This weekend, some will runners will head to Eugene, Ore., for the Oregon Invitational, some will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., to compete in the Central Collegiate Championship and others will go to West Lafayette, Ind. for the Dave Rankin Invitational. Each meet could see additional Irish athletes achieve qualifying times.

Junior sprinter Domenique Manning missed qualifying in the 100-meter hurdles by 0.01 seconds last weekend at the Azusa Pacific Invitational. Junior Crysta Swayzer and freshman Joanna Shultz should also qualify in the 400 meters, according to sprints coach John Millar.

“Joanna’s a tenth [of a second] off, Crysta’s two tenths off,” he said. “Over the last couple weeks they’ve consistently come down in their times, so I would think that by the conference meet hopefully they’ll have achieved those standards.”

Junior Austin Wechter and senior Jordan Powell both lack regional qualifications. Millar said Powell is about half a second away from the standard and has a good chance to achieve it.

Millar was optimistic about the abilities of his sprinters.

“All five of those I’d venture to say are legitimate athletes with potential to do it, and ones that we sort of expect to see come through by the end of the season,” he said.

The field athletes have been hampered with injuries of late. Senior Cassie Gullickson has the ability to qualify but suffers from plantar fasciitis in her foot and may not compete. Sophomore Lauren Bascardi has a chance to qualify in the high jump, but she is recovering from surgery on both legs.

“She’s getting her strength back,” jumps coach Scott Windsor said. “She’s made some pretty good strides this season.”

Senior thrower Garet Koxlien can qualify in both the discus and the hammer throw, but suffered a torn groin muscle last weekend at the Mount SAC Relays.

“He’s right there,” throwing coach B.J. Linnenbrink said. “He’s had a couple injuries that have set us back a little bit. But once we get recovered he’ll be fine.”

Despite the injury problems plaguing some of the field athletes, several others are in good position to qualify. Linnenbrink expects sophomore Anna Weber and junior Mike Schubert to qualify by the time the regional meet rolls around. He also said the way his throwers are practicing is a sign of positive things to come.

“Right now it’s just a matter of doing what we do in practice and having that carry over into competition,” he said. “In practice every day, we’re throwing well. We just have to get it to come together now during competition.”

Sophomore pole vaulter Mary Saxer and senior jumper Chris Jacques round out the field of potential qualifiers for the Irish. Saxer cleared the necessary height last weekend, but the event was moved indoors because of bad weather. Any competition moved indoors cannot count towards a qualifying spot.

Jacques’ recent performances bode well for him.

“He came real close in this past weekend out at Azusa in the high jump,” Windsor said of Jacques, who competes in both the long jump and the high jump. “He was looking real good at 2.10 [meters]. He came real close to clearing it. And in the long jump he did pretty well.”