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ND Women’s Track and Field: Exhibition meet sets groundwork for success

Laura Coletti | Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Irish kick off their season Friday when they participate in their annual Blue & Gold Invitational at the Loftus Center.

Along with Notre Dame, competing teams include Butler, DePaul, Detroit and Marquette, as well as Bethel College of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Irish coach Joe Piane said the meet will be used as a practice run for all teams involved.

“It’s an opportunity for student-athletes who don’t run cross country but have been training all fall to see where they are at in terms of their training and conditioning,” he said. “It compares to an exhibition game for basketball. This is sort of an exhibition for us and probably the other teams as well.”

Looking to make a big impact for the Irish this season is a handful of competitors. Senior Maddie Buttinger ended last spring’s outdoor season on a strong note by competing in the heptathlon at the NCAA championships. She also earned All-Big East honors last spring for her second-place performance at the Big East Outdoor championships.

Three sprinters are looking to continue the success they enjoyed last spring. Junior Nevada Sorenson and sophomores Michelle Brown and Megan Yanik all earned trips to the NCAA regionals last year. Junior pole-vaulter Chrissy Finkel and middle-distance runners junior Rebecca Tracy and sophomores Kelly Curran and Alexa Aragon also represented the Irish last spring at the meet.

Senior distance runner Rachel Velarde and junior distance runner Jessica Rydberg are both coming off outstanding cross-country seasons and hope their success carries over to their track events. Rydberg paced the Irish in six of seven meets during the cross country season and earned All-Region accolades.

The Blue & Gold Invitational is the first of four home meets Notre Dame will be hosting this year. The others include the Notre Dame Invitational on Jan. 21, the Meyo Invitational from Feb. 3 to 4 and the Alex Wilson Invitational from March 2 to 3.

Friday’s meet gets underway at 5 p.m. with the women’s high jump. The track events begin at 6 p.m. with women’s 60-meter hurdles.


Contact Laura Coletti at [email protected]