Track and Field
Barber shines as Irish begin outdoor season in Texas
Marek Mazurek | Tuesday, March 31, 2015
As the South Bend weather starts to slowly get warmer, Notre Dame earned mixed results in the Texas sun at the Texas Relays and the Bobcat Invitational in its first outdoor meet of the season.
“There were some very good performances, eye-opening performances, and then there were a few of the athletes who didn’t compete anywhere near the level I expected them to,” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “Going to events like the Texas relays, we’re measuring ourselves against the best in the country. We use events like these as a measuring stick and clearly, we need to perform better and I know we can.”
The weekend’s headline came courtesy of senior Jade Barber, who broke the school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.81 seconds; the previous school record was 12.93 seconds. Turner said Barber came back nicely from barely missing first-team All-American honors at the NCAA indoor championships.
“Several of the young ladies who were first-team All-Americans who [Barber] ran against two weeks ago were also here at the meet,” Turner said. “She actually beat all of them except for one. For Jade, it was really just refining her technique. She’s definitely where she needs to be now and she’s going to be among the top three favorites to win the title this outdoor season.”
Barber was also part of one of the six relay teams for the Irish that competed this weekend. The women’s 100-meter relay team placed eight, the 200-meter team took home fourth and the 400-meter team finished seventh; however, Turner said the performance of the women’s relay teams left room for improvement.
“The 4×800-meter relay had a lot of young people in there,” Turner said. “They didn’t perform as well as I thought they would. We got beat pretty bad. We’re going to have to use our running experience at Stanford next season. My 4×100-meter relay for the women’s — they weren’t as fast as I wanted them to be in the [preliminaries] or the finals, but most of the teams in front of us are going to be top eight teams in the country. If we can cut some seconds off our time, get down to the low [44-second range], we can compete at the NCAA championships.”
Meanwhile, the men’s 200-meter and 400-meter teams finished fourth and eighth places, respectively. Turner said the men’s relay teams started well but lost steam on the final day.
“In the 4×400-meters, the guys ran very well in the [preliminaries],” Turner said. “They just seemed to be very tired [Saturday] in the finals. Also, in between the second leg and the third leg, there was some bumping between the teams and we got the worse end of that. I’m expecting them to bounce back.”
As the outdoor season continues, Turner said he expects the team to run well in the distance events at the Stanford Invitational next week.
“The guy distance runners have been bagned up, they’re healthy now,” Turner said. “This first week’s going to be a little bit tough, from the mile on up, there’s going to be close to 100 competitors in each event. I’m looking for [junior] Michael Clevenger, [freshman] Billy Dolan and [sophomore] Jacob Dumford to do very well.”
The Irish will travel to Palo Alto, California, to compete in the Stanford Invitational next weekend.