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Track and Field: Irish participate in Invitational

Joseph Monardo | Thursday, April 19, 2012

One week after teaming up with Indiana to defeat Louisville and Kentucky in the Texas Roadhouse Border Battle, the Irish will travel to Bloomington, Ind., for the Polytan Invitational.

The Irish recorded nine event wins in the Border Battle last weekend. Less than a month into what has been a solid outdoor season, the Irish are already beginning to eye the Big East outdoor championships on the horizon.

“So far it has been a really impressive spring for everybody so we are really looking forward to this weekend running a couple more fast races before we get into Big East,” junior middle-distance runner Rebecca Tracy said.

Tracy earned a first-place finish in the 800-meter run on Saturday with a Border Battle record time of 2:07.49. Also coming off a strong performance for the Irish is sophomore sprinter Aijah Urssery, who finished just .03 seconds behind Irish freshman sprinter Jade Barber in the 100-meter dash for second place.

“Last weekend I [ran a personal-record] in the 100[-meter dash], a lifetime [personal record], so this weekend I am hoping that I can run a little bit faster,” Urssery said.

While she looks to improve on her career-best time from last weekend, Urssery said she also aims to ensure she is able to perform her best at the conference championships, which begin on May 4.

“I am trying to stay consistent during the outdoor season so that in the event that I do run faster, I will be able to keep running faster so that when it comes time for the big meet, I will run a [personal record] there rather than run a [personal record] too early,” she said.

Although the Big East championships are only two weeks away, the Irish aim to remain focused on the meets at hand.

“[We focus on] one meet at a time. We have this weekend as a chance to run a couple more fast times,” Tracy said. “Maybe a couple more people can qualify for [the] Big East [tournament], but at the moment, a good number of us are already qualified so now it is just a little more fitness before we get there.”

This weekend, the Irish will look for another winning performance from senior pole-vaulter Kevin Schipper. Schipper, who was named the Big East Men’s Field Athlete of the Week on Monday, has finished first in three out of his four outdoor meets this season.

While a majority of the team will visit the Hoosiers, junior middle-distance runner Jeremy Rae and senior middle-distance runner Johnathan Shawel will travel to Walnut, Calif., for the prestigious Mt. SAC (San Antonio College) Relays. Both Rae and Shawel will compete in the 1500-meter run, an event in which Rae currently holds the second-best time nationally.

For Irish athletes, regardless of whether they are headed to Indiana or Mt. SAC, the meets present valuable opportunities before the conference championships.

“This weekend is to go out there and try to run fast,” Tracy said. “Everybody is in, for the most part, their primary event, so the goal is to run some fast times. If you haven’t qualified for regionals, hopefully get a mark that will get you there.”

While Rae and Shawel head west for the Mt. SAC Relays, Notre Dame will compete in the Polytan Invitational. Both meets begin Thursday and conclude Sunday.


Contact Joseph Monardo at [email protected]