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ND Track: Notre Dame wraps up indoor season

Chris Michalski | Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Notre Dame track and field team wrapped up their indoor season over break with the Alex Wilson Invitational March 6 and 7, as well as the NCAA Championships over the weekend.

The event, held at Loftus Sports Center, was a “last-chance” meet for athletes to punch their ticket to nationals. At this two-day event, 95 athletes from all over the country set NCAA qualifying marks.

For the Irish, pole-vaulters Mary Saxer and Matt Schipper had already punched their ticket to NCAAs, and junior Joanna Schultz and senior Patrick Smyth joined them this weekend. Matt’s brother Kevin Schipper, who was hoping to qualify as well, just missed the mark with a jump of 5.07 on the pole vault. Sophomore Greg Davis finished second in the weight throw with a mark of 18.26 meters.

The four qualifiers made the trip down to College Station for the NCAA championships this past weekend. At the meet, Schultz earned her first All-American honor with an eighth-place finish in the 400-meter run. Smyth, in the 3000, also placed eighth, which was good enough for his sixth All-American honor. Saxer finished ninth with a height of 4.05 meters and Schipper finished fourteenth.

Schipper sang the praises of teammate Patrick Smyth and his importance this season.

“I think major credit for the team’s success this season needs to be credited to senior Patrick Smyth of the distance corps,” said Schipper. “Smyth truly exhibits what Notre Dame track and field idealizes. When you train around athletes like Patrick Smyth every day, success becomes a habit. The people you put around you become your family.”

The meet marks the official end to the indoor season, so the Irish will now gear up for outdoors. The first meets, the Arizona State Invitational and the Stanford Invitational, are both scheduled for March 27-28. The team will be building up for the outdoor Big East Championships beginning on the first of May.