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Irish impress in first two-day meets of year

Joe Meixell | Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Irish split up this past weekend, sending partial teams to the Findlay Open in Ohio and the Indiana Invitational in Bloomington. Notre Dame looked sharp in both of its first two-day meets of the year.

“The meets this weekend were primarily about getting the team acclimated to two-day competitions again,” senior middle-distance runner Bill Buzaid said. “Big East championships are fast approaching, and we need to make sure that we are mentally and physically prepared to execute on back-to-back days.”

In Ohio, freshman Maddie Buttinger finished second in the pentathlon with 3,694 points, while sophomore Justin Schneider won the men’s heptathlon with 5,061 points.

“Day one was certainly a success for us,” Buzaid said, with Notre Dame athletes qualifying for Saturday’s finals throughout the spectrum of events.

On Saturday, the team’s success was led by junior Jack Howard in the 600-meter dash, as he won with a time of 1:20.33. Junior Jim Notwell finished third in the event, less than half a second behind Howard at 1:20.76. Notre Dame’s strong middle-distance group picked up another win when junior Blake Choplin crossed the finish line first in the 800 with a time of 1:51.10.

Hungary native Miklos Szebeny ran the 200 in 22.12 seconds, good enough for third place. In the 400, junior Balazs Molnar finished second, freshman Jordan Rincon took third, and Buzaid earned fifth.

The Notre Dame field competitors were led by the Schipper brothers, freshman Kevin and junior Matt, who tied for second in the pole vault with heights of 5.27 meters, or over 17 feet.

The women’s squad was just as successful as the men. In the 400, junior Joanna Schultz and freshman Natalie Geiger in a one-two finish with times of 54.77 seconds and 55.31 seconds, respectively. Sophomore Kelly Langhans earned first in the 600 with a time of 1:33.42, as freshman teammate Allison Schroeder finished fourth in 1:35.33.

The team continued to roll as time went on. Sophomore Natalie Johnson won the 800 in 2:12.22, and junior Lindsay Ferguson took second in the mile with 4:55.23.

Senior Mary Saxer and Anna Weber continued to dominate their individual events with another pair of wins. Saxer took the pole vault crown with a mark of 4.07 meters, and Weber placed first in the weight throw with a heave of 18.80 meters. In the shot put, junior Jaclyn Espinoza took third with a toss of 14.01 meters.

“I think the meet was a success,” Buzaid said. “We showed resiliency in coming back and performing on two straight days.”

With these positive results under their belts, the teams will reunite next weekend to host the Meyo Invitational.