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Track and Field: Resilient Irish bring home first place honors

Sam Gans | Monday, April 18, 2011

With the Big East and NCAA championships fast approaching and a number of athletes trying to cut down on finish times and qualify for championships, there are very few light weeks in April for Notre Dame.

But even with all those goals, there still are not many stretches of days that are quite as busy as this past weekend, either. The Irish competed in four different events over three days this weekend, with the squad scattered across two different states.

Notre Dame’s weekend officially got underway Thursday as senior distance runner Daniel Jackson raced in the 10,000-meter race at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. Jackson completed the contest in 29:28.61, fast enough to earn fifth place.

Action continued Friday as Notre Dame’s throwers competed in the Azusa Pacific Invitational in Los Angeles. Sophomore Madeline Casanova finished ninth in the second flight of the hammer throw on the women’s side, with a distance of 45.80 meters. For the men’s team, senior Denes Veres came in first in the second flight at 54.08 meters, while senior Greg Davis’ 56.24 meter effort was strong enough to earn him fourth in the third flight.

The bulk of the meets took place Saturday in action split between Indiana and California.

Despite poor weather conditions, the Irish were able to take home seven first-place finishes from the Dave Rankin Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind.

For the women’s squad, freshman sprinters Michelle Brown and Aijah Urssery each notched a victory. Brown won the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.93 and Urssery finished first in the 200-meter dash at 26.19. Freshman Alexa Aragon and fifth-year student Lindsey Ferguson were also victorious in their respective races.

On the men’s side, seniors Paul Springer and Thomas Noel each won events, with Springer coming in first in the 5,000-meter race at 15:09.99 and Noel winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:41.19. Patrick Feeney’s 22.67 time in the 200-meter dash earned him first as well.

Also on Saturday, back in California, Irish athletes competed in the Long Beach State Invitational. Senior Rudy Atang came in third in the shotput at 15.10 meters and sophomore Rebecca Tracy came in second in the 800-meters with a time of 2:07.21. Veres had his second strong day at Long Beach, coming in fifth place in the shotput at 17.30 meters.

After a demanding weekend, the Irish get a much deserved week off, before again hitting the track April 28-30 for the Drake Relays and Hillsdale Gina Relays.