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Track and Field: Team shatters several records at Invitational

Greg Hadley | Monday, March 4, 2013

School, meet and Loftus records all fell this weekend at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Loftus Sports Center, as several Irish athletes booked their tickets to Fayetteville, Ark., for next weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships.

Squaring off against elite competition from all over the country, the Irish had a very successful weekend, holding their own against traditional powerhouses Texas A&M and Oregon, and Florida, the men’s defending national champions. Overall, the Irish broke five school records over the course of the weekend.

For the men, sophomore sprinter Chris Giesting had an outstanding meet, breaking the school record in the 400-meter event. His time of 46.05 qualified him to compete in Fayetteville as well, where he will run alongside junior sprinter Patrick Feeney, the previous record-holder in the event.

“Pat and Chris have a friendly rivalry,” freshman decathlete Brent Swanberg said. “It’s really great to watch them go back and forth, trying to beat the other’s time.”

On the women’s side, senior middle distance runner Rebecca Tracy had the race of her life in the women’s mile, breaking the school, track and meet records with a time of 4:43.53. In doing so, she also catapulted into the top 16 times in her event nationally, qualifying herself for the indoor championships.

Sophomore hurdler Jade Barber followed up her domination at the Big East championships by breaking the school and meet record in the 60-meter hurdle event and helping her 4-by-400-meter relay team to a fourth place finish.

Swanberg said strong individual showings were partially due to the atmosphere of desperation, as athletes tried to secure nationally qualifying times.

Four men broke the four-minute mark in the mile, led by sophomore distance runner Austin Mudd of Wisconsin, who broke the meet record. The meet records in the men’s and women’s distance medley relays were broken by Penn State and Michigan, respectively.

The men’s distance medley relay was especially remarkable, as the top 12 teams posted the 12-fastest times in the country this season, qualifying them all for the NCAA championships.

“Some meets don’t run the [distance medley], so this is one of the biggest chances to qualify,” Swanberg said. “It’s too bad that we weren’t able to enter a team and defend our title from last year.”

The Irish next compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., which begin Friday.

Contact Greg Hadley at [email protected]