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Women’s Track: Team struggles with consistency during mediocre season

Sam Gans | Friday, May 20, 2011

The Irish struggled with an up-and-down season, finishing with mixed results in both indoor and outdoor competitions.

Notre Dame finished near the middle of the conference pack in both seasons at the Big East championships. The Irish came in eighth at the indoor competition Feb. 20 in Akron, Ohio, and followed that effort by earning 10th place in the conference at the outdoor meet, held May 8 in Villanova, Penn.

Though the Irish were not one of the conference’s top squads this year, they still succeeded in many ways individually. One of the most accomplished athletes this year was sophomore Rebecca Tracy.

Tracy won the mile at the Big East indoor championships and finished third in the 1500-meter run for the conference on the outdoor circuit. In addition, she posted a mile time of 4:42.14 in January’s Notre Dame Invitational, which was the second fastest in the country at the time.

Though success in track is often viewed on the individual level, Tracy credits her strong performance to the leadership of the upperclassmen on the team, especially senior Abby Higgins.

“I am going to miss all of our seniors dearly,” Tracy said. “They have all contributed so much to the team. [But] if I have to pick one senior that has had the greatest effect on me, it would be Abby. I got to work with her all spring last year and she is the best training partner, as well as a great teammate and leader.”

Another notable standout was senior shot putter Rudy Atang. Atang, who placed sixth with a 14.73-meter mark in Akron, bested that mark in Villanova, where she finished fourth in the conference after a throw of 15.51 meters.

Atang is now preparing to compete in the NCAA championships June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Just like Tracy, she credits teammates for a large part of her success.

“I will miss my teammates the most, especially the senior throwers: Denes [Veres], Greg [Davis] and John [Belcher],” Atang said. “Like siblings, we have been though our ups and downs, but they have continued to inspire and motivate me in more ways than they know.”