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Men’s Track & Field: Three teams travel to invitational at Loftus

Douglas Farmer | Friday, January 23, 2009

With the Big East Indoor Track & Field Championships less than a month away, tonight’s Notre Dame Invitational will take on a little more meaning, as the Irish host Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Marquette in the Loftus Center in the first scored meet for the teams this season.

The Irish hosted two indoor meets earlier this season, but this is the first meet in which team scores will be kept.

“Since it’s a scored meet, some kids will be doing multiple events,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “There’s a premium on not just running well, jumping well, or throwing well, but also on placing well.”

The list of athletes competing in multiple events is highlighted by junior Eric Quick, who will be long and triple jumping.

This meet will be a pressure-cooker with competition. Many athletes have their eyes on qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships, and the three visiting teams all present stiff challenges to the Fighting Irish.

“Marquette usually has some individuals who are pretty talented,” Piane said. “Michigan State is probably the most improved team in the Big Ten, and Wisconsin is very good annually. In 2007 they did win the NCAA Indoor Championships as a team.”

The opponents notwithstanding, multiple Notre Dame competitors aim to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Senior distance runner Dan Clark will be attempting to do such in the mile. According to Piane, in most years a time of 4:04 would qualify Clark for the NCAAs, and a time of 4:01 would assure him an entry.

“Dan has a legitimate shot on Friday,” Piane said.