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ND Track & Field: Schultz leads ND sprinters

Kaitlyn Murphy | Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Senior sprinter Joanna Schultz has been nothing short of dominant during the first few weeks of the indoor track season, setting an NCAA provisional qualifying mark on Jan. 23 at the Notre Dame Invitational with a time of 53.82 seconds in the 400-meters.

Schultz is familiar with success, as she began setting records in high school and has been impossible to stop since arriving at Notre Dame. Last season, Schultz posted the team’s top times in both the 200 and 400 races.

She also won the Big East title in the 400 hurdles with a time of 53.12 seconds. Last year, Schultz narrowly missed a bid to the NCAA Championships for the outdoor season after finishing fifth in the 400 at the NCAA Mideast Regionals.

Schultz had knee surgery in September and worried that it would hinder her performance in the indoor and outdoor seasons. So far, there is no evidence that she is struggling at all. On the other hand, this is the best start to the season that Schultz has put forth in her four years at Notre Dame.

“I’m ahead of where I was last year at this time and I’ve been able to stay healthy,” Schultz said.

Irish sprints coach John Millar had only good things to say about Schultz’s dedication and athleticism.

“Joanna has a terrific work ethic and is very disciplined in her training,” Millar said. “She realizes the commitment it takes to be successful in track and she takes care of the little things that make a difference in performance.”

Millar also mentioned the leadership role that Schultz has assumed along with her senior status.

“She not only leads by example but is willing to offer advice and criticism when needed,” he said.

Both Schultz and Millar have high hopes for the rest of the season.

“I would love to make another appearance at the indoor national meet in March,” Schultz said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the outdoor season. My goal is to continue scoring points for my team at both the indoor and outdoor Big East championship meets.”

Millar echoed these hopes and spoke further about Schultz’s potential success.

“She certainly has the potential to become an All-American in both the indoor and outdoor season” he said.

Though facing the end of her Notre Dame track career at the conclusion of this outdoor season, Schultz is thankful for her time on the team.

 “My experiences with Notre Dame track and field have been nothing but wonderful. I couldn’t have asked more for better teammates or coaches. It has been a lot of hard work, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Schultz said.  

She said she hopes to continue training after she graduates.

“I love running and competing and it would be hard for me to give it up after this year,” Schultz said.

Schultz and the Irish will next compete at the Meyo Invitational Saturday and Sunday in the Loftus Sports Center.