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ND Track &?Field: Saxer breaks vault record

Chris Michalski | Sunday, January 18, 2009

Senior Mary Saxer broke her own Loftus Sports Center pole vault record from three years ago, as Notre Dame competed in the Indoor Opener on Friday.

Saxer’s vault of 4.06 meters just beat her previous mark of 4.05 meters, which she set as a freshman.

The team also qualified over thirty athletes for the Big East Championship.

Irish coach Joe Piane was pleased with his team’s performance in the meet and the early portion of the season in general.

“Quite a few men and women have qualified for the Big East Championships and we are in good shape for the remainder of the season,” Piane said.

Sophomore Abby Higgins and junior Molly Sullivan both qualified for the conference tournament in the 1,000-meter race. Natalie Johnson also earned a spot in the postseason in the 400-meters and senior Alyissa Hasan won the 60-meter hurdles for the Irish.

Sophomore Kevin Labus won the 800-meter race with a time of 1:53.00 to lead the male qualifiers. He was joined by fellows sophomore Justin Schneider who qualified for both the 60-meter hurdles and the pole vault.

Andrew Kolbeck and brothers Kevin and Matt Schipper also qualified in the pole vault. Kevin, a freshman, earned dinner table bragging rights by topping his brother to win the event with a 4.95 meter leap. Matt, a junior, finished in second.

Erick Quick and Greg Davis also won the men’s long jump and the weight throw, respectively.

“Hopefully we can continue to qualify men and women and we would love to win the quad meet next weekend,” Piane said.

The quad meet, the Notre Dame Invitational, is scheduled for Jan. 23 and will include Marquette and the University of Wisconsin. The Big East Championships begin Feb. 21 in New York. The Irish will be looking for leadership from standouts such as senior distance runners Patrick Smyth and Billy Buzaid. On the women’s side, senior Anna Weber, who has qualified for the NCAA championships as a thrower, will lead the way.