Track and Field
ND gears up for ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Andrew Robinson | Friday, April 10, 2015
With many of the standouts from the Stanford Invitational taking a breather, the Irish will head to Louisville, Kentucky, for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge this Saturday with a large, somewhat younger crew.
Notre Dame and Louisville will represent the ACC in the meet, and they will be butting heads with Indiana and Michigan State from the Big Ten. The scores of each team will be combined with its partner, and the winners will claim bragging rights for their conference.
Though the Irish will bring a large team — there are 87 Notre Dame entries across all events — some notable athletes will be taking a rest after competing on back-to-back weekends.
Senior Chris Giesting and junior Margaret Bamgbose in the 400-meter races, junior Molly Seidel in the 5,000 meters, sophomore Jacob Dumford in the 1,500 meters and senior Jade Barber in the 100-meter hurdles will not be competing after winning their respective events at Stanford.
“These are our athletes that we know are going to be competing at the end of the year at the national championships,” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “The travel [to Texas and Stanford] the last two weeks has been pretty brutal, so giving them a break during this long season will go a long way.
“We’re going to take larger numbers and give our younger kids a chance to compete. For about two dozen of them, this is their first outdoor meet. Our goal is to let people compete, have some fun and get better.”
For those who did run last week at Stanford, Turner said he expects them to carry their momentum to Louisville.
“For those that are coming up on their third meet, last weekend [at Stanford] should be a building block, and I expect them to just get better and better every meet,” he said.
Turner said he has been especially impressed by freshman javelin thrower Greg Bombara and expects him to perform well again at Louisville.
He also said he will be looking for freshman Parker English to have strong performance in the 200- and 400-meters.
“Parker has run some very good splits on relays, but she still hasn’t had that great individual breakout race yet,” he said.
Senior discus thrower Dominick Padovano will compete again at Louisville after throwing 54.42 meters at Stanford, enough for a fourth-place finish.
With a lot of younger athletes, Turner said he views this weekend as primarily as an opportunity for growth.
“My objective for this weekend is not necessarily for the ACC to defeat the Big Ten,” Turner said. “All the coaches there are … saying, ‘Let’s use this meet to get better.’ But at the same time, of course we still want to beat each other.
“It’s been a friendly rivalry [between the conferences]. At Louisville, they give the athletes t-shirts, dinner afterwards — it’s a good atmosphere to compete in.”
The Irish will travel to Cardinal Park in Louisville for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and conclude that evening.