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Men’s Track and Field: Irish to host Notre Dame Invitational

Jack Heffernon | Friday, January 21, 2011

Notre Dame will try to post fast times and strong individual performances when it hosts the Notre Dame Invitational Saturday.

As an early season meet, the Irish have an opportunity to polish their times before the Big East championships, which are now less than a month away. The invitational will also be an early test for the team, as it will feature solid competition in Michigan State, DePaul and Western Michigan.

“This weekend is important because it is a great opportunity to get a lot of people qualified for the Big East meet,” graduate student Jack Howard said. “It is also a good tune-up before we head into the meat of our schedule.”

The team is already off to a great start this year, having notched several individual and relay wins at both of its opening meets.

“So far, we have had a lot of great performances in all three phases — running, jumping and throws,” Howard said. “We have a ton of depth and a lot of strong returners from last year, plus we have some new faces who are really stepping up, so it is pretty exciting,”

In particular, one of those great performances was turned in by heptathlete Justin Schneider. At last weekend’s Bob Eubanks Open, Schneider won six of seven heptathlon events and scored 5,497 points, breaking his own personal record and earning Big East Male Field Athlete of the Week honors in the process.

With scores like that, Schneider and the Irish should be primed for another run at a conference title. Notre Dame took home both the indoors and outdoors championships last year.

“Our goal is just to keep improving so that we’re running our best come the conference meet and beyond,” Howard said.

The Invitational will take place Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center. Field events will kick off at 10 a.m., while running events will begin at noon.