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Track and Field: Irish dominate across the board against Big East rivals

Brian Hartnett | Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Irish marked their return home with a strong showing, winning six events at the Notre Dame Invitational on Saturday.

Notre Dame faced tough competition in the home meet, featuring Big East opponents South Florida and DePaul as well as local competitors Michigan State and Western Michigan.

In a day filled with top finishes by Irish competitors, freshman Chris Geisting’s performance stood out, as the sprinter turned in a record-breaking performance in the 500-meter to add another accolade to his stellar season. Competing in the 500-meter event for the first time in his career, Geisting finished the race with a time of 1:01.89, breaking both the school record and the Meyo Track record in the event.

In addition to Geisting’s victory, the men’s team also took first place in three other events on the day. Junior middle-distance runner Jeremy Rae, competing in his first race of the season, placed first in the 1000-meter event. Junior middle-distance runner J.P. Malette won the 3000-meter event, while the team of junior sprinter Brendan Dougherty, senior sprinter Mitch Lorenz, sophomore sprinter Patrick Feeny and Geisting earned the top spot in the 4×400-meter relay.

On the women’s side, the Irish notched two first-place finishes. Sophomore middle-distance runner Kelly Curran took first in the 1000-meter, while sophomore jumper Kelly Burke finished first in the pole vault.

Irish coach Joe Piane also cited strong performances from freshman Kaila Barber, who placed second in the 60-meter hurdles, senior Maddie Buttinger, who claimed third in the high jump and sophomore middle-distance runner Alexa Aragon, who placed second and achieved a personal record in the mile event. In addition, the 4×400 meter relay team of senior Natalie Geiger, sophomore Michelle Brown, Buttinger and Barber turned in a second place performance.

“On the whole, I thought we had a pretty successful meet,” Piane said. “Everything that we do now is in preparation for the Big East Championships, and I would say that we’re right on pace to have some good performances there.”

The meet proved to be beneficial to Irish runners with aspirations of the Big East Championships, as the team added to its list of Big East qualifying performances. Thirty of the performances from the meet hit Big East qualifying standards, adding to the 60 qualifying performances already met by the team in prior meets.

Piane now looks to the Irish’s competition in Bloomington Relays this weekend. He said the relays will be a tough proving ground for Irish runners looking to be competitive in the Big East.

“It will be one of those meets where we will place people in a position that will help them get to the Big East and run well there,” Piane said. “I expect that we will have great performances, as we normally do.

“It’s a very nice facility down there and there’s always some good competition.”

Notre Dame will travel to Bloomington, Ind. on Friday to compete in the Bloomington Relays.


Contact Brian Hartnett at [email protected]