Track and Field
Bamgbose, Aragon set school records
Marek Mazurek | Monday, April 20, 2015
Notre Dame split up its team this weekend and sent athletes to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Invitational and to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Virginia Challenge.
Irish junior sprinter Margaret Bamgbose stood out at the Georgia Tech Invitational, finishing first in the 400-meter dash with a season-best mark of 51.95 seconds, besting her previous time by two hundredths of a second. Irish head coach Alan Turner said he thinks Bamgbose can go faster as the season progresses.
“I think she can definitely get that time down into the low 51s (seconds),” Turner said. “She’s becoming very, very consistent in the indoor season and the outdoor season. I think as she gets to the conference meet, ACC championships, the regionals and nationals, she’ll be in the low 51s. She’s getting better every time she runs.”
Bamgbose also helped led the Irish 4 x 400-meter and 4 x 100-meter relay teams to first-place finishes. The 4 x 400-meter team, made up of Bamgbose, freshman Parker English, senior Amber Lalla and freshman Jordan Shead, notched a mark of 3:33.21 in its win. Turner said he is close to deciding the final lineup for the relay in postseason competition.
“That was our season’s best time,” Turner said. “Margaret is a mainstay on the team. She’s always the anchor, she’s pretty consistent. The one person that’s really stepped up is Amber Lalla. That’s two weeks in a row she’s been in the low 53s. I’m still deciding on who that fourth person’s going to be, whether it’s [senior] Michelle Rotondo, who was on our relay team last year that went to nationals, or freshman Jordan Shead or even Jade Barber. I have young ladies that I can just plug in and we’re still going to be one of the top teams in the country.”
The 4 x 100-meter team of Bamgbose, Parker, senior Jade Barber and senior Kaila Barber took home the win in 44.81 seconds and Turner said he thinks the team can potentially get to the NCAA championships.
“That time, 44.81 [seconds], is the best time a women’s 4 x 100 team has run since I’ve been here,” Turner said. “We can even go a lot faster. The last exchange between Parker [English] and Margaret [Bamgbose] wasn’t the best. If we just iron that out, we can go about 44.4 or 44.3 [seconds]. If you’re running those times, those are definitely going to get you to the NCAAs.”
In addition to running in the 4 x 100-meter relay, Jade Barber also won the 100-meter hurdles in 13.04 seconds, and Turner said his goal is for Barber to place highly at the NCAA championships.
“In the outdoor season … she’s been very focused,” Turner said. “For us it was just going back to the basics. We want to make the nationals and be All-American again, but we want to go for a top-three space this year, not just being sixth place, seventh place or eighth place. If she keeps doing what she’s doing, she’ll definitely finish somewhere in the top three.”
For the women’s distance runners, the highlight of the weekend was junior Danielle Aragon’s fifth-place finish in the 1,500-meter run at the Virginia Challenge, running a mark of 4:13.43 to break the school record by five hundredths of a second.
“[Aragon] is as good as anybody,” Turner said. “Dannie is one of the top 16 female milers, 1,500-meter runners in the country and her time yesterday is going to move her up big-time on the national list. She’s rounding out into great shape. I’m really proud of her getting the school record.”
There were no men’s victories for the Irish this weekend, but senior Chris Giesting placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 45.95 seconds and helped the men’s 4 x 100-meter and 4 x 400-meter relay teams to fourth- and second-place finishes. Turner said he wanted to see Giesting race after resting him at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last week.
“[Giesting] ran his season best in the 400, but he still looked a little sluggish in the last 50 meters,” Turner said. “If he just finished a little better, he’s challenging his school record, his personal record. He ran a pretty good anchor for us on the 4 x 400, Georgia had a big lead on us, about 20 meters and he cut it down to about eight meters at the end.”
The Irish will compete next weekend at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.