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Track and Field

Irish gear up for home invite and ‘Meyo Mile’

| Thursday, February 5, 2015

After mixed results at the Razorback Invitational against the most competitive field they have faced thus far, the Irish will be tested once again this weekend when they host over 1,000 athletes for the Meyo Invitational.

The Irish struggled out of the gates last weekend at the meet hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which featured a combined 15 top-25 teams on the men’s and women’s sides. The men’s squad finished 11th out of 12 teams, while the women were able to snag seventh out of 12.

Irish coach Alan Turner said he remains optimistic and thinks the attitude on the team is positive.

Irish junior Danielle Aragon leads freshman teammate Jessica Harris during a race at the Blue & Gold  Invitational Dec. 5 at Loftus Sports Center. Harris has set three Notre Dame records in her last three meets.Wei Lin | The Observer
Irish junior Danielle Aragon leads freshman teammate Jessica Harris during a race Dec. 5 at the Blue & Gold Invitational at Loftus Sports Center. Harris has set three Notre Dame records in her last three meets.

“We were pretty bad that first day, and the second day, we finally woke up and responded, so we ended on a pretty good note,” he said. “The kids left the meet feeling, ‘I can complete with anybody.’ Obviously, we still have a road to go … [but] I think what we did Saturday is going to project us to have a pretty good season.”

The upcoming meet will feature a large field of athletes from dozens of schools across the country, as well as from outside organizations. The invitational is full of top athletes in nearly every event, including the well-known Meyo Invitational mile race.

The ‘Meyo Mile’ is one of the most competitive mile races in the nation for NCAA and professional runners, and this year’s race will feature 75 competitors in the women’s race and 69 in the men’s.

Headlining the field is 2014 Notre Dame graduate Jeremy Rae, representing the Speed River Track Club. Rae won the race all three years in which he competed for Notre Dame. In 2011, 2012 and 2014 – in 2013, he was out with a strained Achilles tendon – Rae ran sub-four-minute miles en route to his three victories, including a Notre Dame record 3:57.25 in 2014.

“[Jeremy] is in shape and ready to run, so we could easily see a sub-four-minute mile from him [again this year],” Turner said.

The event will also feature 2008 Olympian Taylor Milne, one of Rae’s professional teammates, as well as Notre Dame junior Michael Clevenger, who Rae has said could break the four-minute barrier.

In the women’s mile, junior Molly Seidel will compete after finishing first in the mile at the Razorback Invitational.

Top athletes and All-Americans will compete in events across the board.

“The Meyo Mile gets the attention … [but] all the events are deep here at this meet,” Turner said.

He said that freshman Jessica Harris, who has impressed early in the season, could challenge her own record of 2:06.91 in the 800 meters. After three collegiate meets, Harris holds three school records in the 1,000-meter, 800-meter and 600-meter runs.

She has contributed to a streak of Irish athletes breaking school records in each of their first four meets.

Turner also said that the women’s 4×400 team, one of the top units in the country, could contend for a school record if each runner takes about a second off her usual time.

“It’s going to be a very packed event and a loud atmosphere,” Turner said. “Our kids respond to that; they know it’s the biggest meet of the year.”

The Irish host the Meyo Invitational this weekend at Loftus Sports Center. The events begin Friday at 4 p.m and continue Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

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