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ND Women’s Track: Victory in last event seals a tie against MSU

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 28, 2008

The Irish women’s 4×400-meter relay team won the last event of the Notre Dame Invitational Friday at the Loftus Sports Center to clinch an overall tie with Michigan State in the Invitational.

Down by three points to the Spartans with one event remaining, Notre Dame needed a win and a Michigan State third-place finish to pull even with the Spartans. The Irish relay team triumphed with a season-best time of 3:52.61, and they received help from Marquette, who edged out Michigan State for second place – allowing Notre Dame to slip into a tie with the Michigan State. Both squads finished the meet with 118 points.

Still, Irish coach Tim Connelly said the competition did not reflect his team’s capability.

“We still have a very long way to go to be at full strength and close to our full potential,” Connelly said.

Junior Anna Weber’s domination of the throwing events was crucial to Notre Dame’s success. Weber got the meet started for the Irish by coming from behind to win the weight throw competition on her final attempt. Her winning toss of 61 feet, 11 inches was not only a career-long, but it also qualified her for the NCAA championship meet.

Weber also finished strong for the Irish, taking the shot put title in the second-to-last event of the meet with a season-long throw of 45 feet 10 inches. Teammate Jaclyn Espinoza also recorded her season-high mark in the shot put, finishing third and earning points that proved critical in the Irish comeback.

Notre Dame’s long-jumpers took the top three spots in their events, led by junior Alyissa Hasan, whose jump of 18 feet 9 inches was good for first place in the event. Sophomore Jaime Minor finished second with a leap of 18 feet 6 inches, and junior Mary Saxer came in third with a jump of 18 feet 3 inches.

Connelly said the Irish will not let up anytime soon.

“The big focus for us will be to continue to improve and continue to compete hard,” Connelly said. “If we compete well against better competition, our times will continue to drop and we will start to work our way into a position where scoring well at the conference meet becomes realistic.”

The team will return to action Friday at the Indiana Invitational in Bloomington, Ind.