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ND Track & Field: More NCAA qualifiers emerge from relays

Michael Blasco | Monday, April 27, 2009

Notre Dame picked up six individual titles between the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa and the Hillsdale Relays in Hillsdale, Mich. this weekend.

The Irish were looking to collect a few more qualifications for the upcoming Big East and NCAA Tournaments and sent a small group to the Drake and Hillsdale Relays as most of the team rested.

“We’re trying to get some more kids qualified for the Big East and NCAA,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “That’s our goal. For some it’s a tune-up [for next week’s Big East championships] and for some it’s an opportunity.”

At the Drake Relays, junior Matt Schipper placed first in the pole vault with a mark of 5.30 meters for the only top finish for the Irish in Iowa.

Freshman Andrew Hills took first in the shot put with a throw of 16.30 meters at the Drake Relays, while junior Eric Quick won the triple jump with a mark of 14.84 meters.

On the women’s side of things, junior Jaime Minor finished first in the triple jump with a mark of 12.01 meters. Junior Joanna Schultz took first in the 400-meter hurdles with a 0:59.70, while junior Elise Knutzen’s toss of 44.92 meters in the javelin was good enough for first as well.

The strong showings follow up on a great spring for Notre Dame, which has been consistently competitive since the open of the outdoor season last month. The Irish men hope to follow up on a second-place showing at the Big East indoor championships, while the women are looking to improve upon their fifth-place finish.

“Our focus is the Big East [outdoor championships],” Piane said. “The kids who aren’t running are resting up to get ready after a brutal couple of meets, and we’ve got our eyes set on the [Big East outdoor championships and the NCAA championships].”

The Big East championships begin Friday in Philadelphia and continue throughout the weekend.