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Track and Field: Irish prepare to host Invitational

Laura Coletti | Thursday, January 19, 2012

Both Irish squads will participate in the daylong Notre Dame Invitational meet Saturday, hoping to use the Invitational as preparation for later meets this season.

For junior Jeremy Rae and the men’s team, the Invitational is just another step en route to the team’s goal of winning the Big East meet. While the Invitational is one of the smaller meets of the season, Rae said it is important for the team to perform well.

“Our team’s long-term goal is to win the Big East meet,” Rae said. “The meet this weekend is one of the smaller meets of the season, but it’s important for us to get qualified for the bigger meets later in the year, and the Notre Dame Invitational is an opportunity to do so.”

The Irish will look to their sprinters for strong scores. Freshman Chris Giesting recently garnered Big East Track & Field Athlete of the Week accolades for his performance in the Blue & Gold Invitational 400-meter dash earlier this season. His time of 47.40 was the fastest in the country as of Dec. 6.

“We’ve all been really excited about the way [Giesting] has been running,” Rae said. “We now have the tools to have a really competitive 4×400 relay team, which will help at the Big East meet.”

Rae said the toughest competition Notre Dame will face this weekend comes from DePaul and Michigan State.

“DePaul has some great throwers and Michigan State will have some talented middle-distance and distance runners entered,” he said. “There isn’t really any pressure going into meets like this one. Seeing as the meets only get more competitive from here, this serves as a way to race ourselves into shape and prepare for the Big East meet and Nationals.”

The women’s team also expects to use this race as a warm-up for bigger meets later in the season. Senior captain Maddie Buttinger’s goals for the women’s team are similar to Rae’s.

“We definitely want to improve our standings from last year at the Big East meet,” she said. “Our goal is to be a top-three team at the Big East Indoor and Outdoor Championships, possibly contending for the team title.”

The Irish will count on recent success from Buttinger, freshman Kaila Barber and junior hurdler Nevada Sorenson to carry momentum into the Notre Dame Invitational this weekend.

The Invitational opens with the men’s and women’s long jump at 10 a.m.