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Women’s Track:24 to compete in conference tourney

Alex Barker | Friday, February 22, 2008

In the book of numbers, Notre Dame has the edge.

Last year in the closely contested Big East Indoor championships, Notre Dame finished a close second to Georgetown.

That time, the Irish had 22 athletes who qualified to participate. This year, they have 24.

Notre Dame will try to convert this advantage into better results in the form of team and individual championships.

But Irish coach Tim Connelly is not as concerned about improving the team’s overall finish as much as he is rooting for better individual results from his athletes. Notre Dame’s failure to capture individual titles in 2007 doomed the team’s chances.

“We’re really not sure what to expect team place-wise, as there are a number of really strong teams that should be in the hunt to place high,” Connelly said. “To be honest we really focus more on each athlete doing her best and contributing all that they can to the team effort.”

The Irish have a slew of athletes who are favorites to place well in their respective events.

First among them is Anna Weber, who will look to continue her dominance in the weight throw and the shot put. Weber has set school records in both events and has already qualified for the NCAA meet in the shot put.

A reigning All-Big East performer, Mary Saxer looks to improve on her second-place finish last year.

Meanwhile, Alyissa Hasan has a strong chance to win the Pentathlon; she has already qualified for the NCAA meet.

The Notre Dame runners – led by Joanna Schultz, Cora Dayon, Natalie Johnson and Kelly Langhans – hope to find more success in the running events than the Irish had last year.

Connelly’s outlook for the team this weekend is simple.

“Right now the goal is to go in there and have each of the 24 women who will compete try to compete as well as they can and come away feeling that they did all they could to help the team,” Connelly said. “In this sport you can’t control what the other person or team does, all you can control is your own effort.”