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Track and Field: Strong showing encourages team

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, April 15, 2009

After a solid performance from the entire team Saturday at the Ole Miss Invitational, the Irish set themselves up for the possibility of a successful run at the Big East championship and possibly beyond.

Coach Joseph Piane couldn’t praise his team enough after its strong performance.

“We have some national class kids,” Piane said. “Several kids qualified for the NCAA and Big East [championships].”

Headlining Notre Dame’s effort were dominating performances in the men’s 800-meter run, where the Irish took the first five places and nine of the top 12. Juniors Blake Choplin and Jack Howard led the pack, finishing first and second, respectively.

The men’s team boasted several other top finishers. Junior Jake Walker took second in the 1500, and classmate Eric Quick also placed second in the long jump. Sophomore Greg Davis took home fourth place in the hammer toss, and freshman Joe Miller claimed top honors in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

The women’s squad also looked strong, as junior Jackie Espinoza and senior Heidi Rocha won the discus throw and the 5000, respectively.

“Everyone did an all-around great job,” Piane said. “It’s nice when we go out and perform well, but right now we’re starting to focus on the Big East championships.”

Other notable finishers for the women included a third-place finish from junior Elise Knutzen in the javelin and sophomore Marissa Treece’s second-place finish in the 1500. Sophomore Theresa Cattuna also finished third in the 5000.

The Irish return to action today and Thursday this week at the Mt. SAC Multi Event Relays in Walnut, Calif.