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ND Track and Field: Notre Dame looking to improve outdoors

Joe Wirth | Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Irish hope to avenge the men’s second place and the women’s eighth place finishes in the Big East indoors earlier this year by taking the outdoor title this weekend at Villanova.

The men came up five points short in the indoors and hope they can make the difference up with the hard work they put in during the outdoor season.

“Our team goal is to just simply win. We got second in the indoor by less than six points, so we are going to give our best to get those extra points,” freshman Patrick Feeney said. Feeney, who is coming off a 10th place finish at the 4×400 relay at the Drake Relays last weekend, said he may be a freshman, but that does not diminish his expectations heading into the races.

“For the 4×100 there is a lot of competition. We are looking to place in the top three, but definitely going for the win. My goal for the 400 is to win. I know there is great competition, but that’s when my best races come,” Feeney said.

“Our 4×400 is very close to the top times and I think it’s going to be close between about four or five teams, but with good splits all around we are going to give our best to win.”

Despite being a freshman, Feeney has not let his lack of experience prevent him from having a great first year in the program. He hopes to culminate his impressive freshman season with a strong performance at Villanova.

He said he will treat this weekend’s races just like any other, but in the back of his mind he knows there is a lot riding on this weekend. He also acknowledged how important these races are to the upperclassmen, who want the seniors to go out on a high note.

“As of now I am just looking at it as another race, but our seniors have definitely let us know what to expect,” Feeney said. “They talked to us before the indoor meet and let us know everything, but gave us confidence to go out there and give our best.”

Several Irish runners will go in to the Big East championships riding strong momentum after impressive performances last weekend at Hillsdale and Drake.

On the men’s side, the 4×1600 relay team of senior Jordan Carlson, junior Johnathan Shawel and sophomores J.P. Malette and Jeremy Rae came in second at the Drake Relays and are one of the favorites this weekend.

The women had two first place finishes last weekend at the Hillsdale Relays. Sophomore Rebecca Tracy finished at the front in the 800-meter run and freshman Megan Yanik came out on top in the 400-meter hurdles.

The Big East championship races will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Jumbo Elliot Track at Villanova University in Villanova, Pa.