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Track and Field: Freshman Giesting sets record in first attempt

Aaron Sant-Miller | Monday, January 23, 2012

As of Saturday morning, freshman sprinter Chris Giesting had never competed in the 500-meter race. By Saturday afternoon, he rewrote the 29-year-old school record in the event with a 1:01.89 at the Notre Dame Invitational.

“My coach came up to me a few days before the race and told me I was running the 500,” Giesting said. “Then he told me, ‘This is the record and I think you can be right there at it.'”

Irish sprinting coach Alan Turner’s confidence in his runner made a difference for Giesting.

“He just got it in my mind that, ‘Hey, maybe I could really run this well,'” Giesting said.

As a runner, Giesting has more experience with the 400-meter dash. He won that race in IHSAA state meet in 2011 as a senior in high school and holds the Indiana record with a 46.89 in that event.

“I kind of approached it just like I run the 400 [meter dash] and then just did my best to hang on for the last 100 meters,” Giesting said.

Giesting outraced competition by two seconds, leaving his mark in the Notre Dame record books.

“At first, I didn’t think much of it; I had just accomplished what I set out to do,” Giesting said. “But, after talking to friends and family, it kind of hit me how special it really is, to have your name as a record holder for the University of Notre Dame.”

The 2012 season is only Giesting’s fourth year as a track and field runner.

“Believe it or not, my freshman year of high school, I wasn’t even on the track team,” Giesting said. “I played golf.”

But running flows in the Giesting family blood. His father, Terry, was a runner in high school, setting a few high school records of his own. Giesting’s older brother, Tyler, also ran collegiately at DePauw.

Giesting said he immediately turns to Tyler as a role model in the sport.

“He is always the one who comes up to me and tells me to relax and what I need to do,” Giesting said. “He is a pretty big part of my running and how I’ve gone about it so far.”

When choosing a college, Giesting said he looked for two qualities — good academics and a nationally competitive track team.

“First off, I wanted to come here because of the academics. They are hard to beat,” Giesting said. “But, also, [we’ve] got the largest indoor track in the nation and we are usually competing to win the Big East every year.”

Now that he is a freshman at Notre Dame, Giesting is going through some of the usual growing pains of being new to the college life.

“That first week I was here I had more work than I have ever had in my life,” he said. “It kind of made me realize how much different college is.”

But on the team, Giesting already feels a strong bond with his teammates, especially his fellow sprinters.

“Each week we get to know each other better,” Giesting said. “We have a great relationship; we hang out together all the time.”

Giesting and the rest of the Irish Track and Field team will compete next in the Indiana Relays on Jan. 17-18 in Bloomington, Ind.



Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at [email protected]