Track and Field
Irish set for final home meet
Marek Mazurek | Thursday, February 18, 2016
With only one weekend to go before the ACC indoor championships, Notre Dame hosts its final home meet of the year, the Alex Wilson Invitational, on Saturday at Loftus Sports Center.
As the end of the indoor season draws near, Irish head coach Alan Turner said he plans to rest many of the athletes who will compete in multiple events at the ACC championships the following weekend.
“The athletes on my team who I know are going to double or triple at the ACC meet, a lot of them will be resting, unless they’re at the level where I think, ‘Hey, they can run one race and run it very very fast and hopefully that time can get them into the NCAA,’” Turner said. “We’re probably resting a lot more people than we’re competing this weekend.”
Turner did say, however, he plans to run seniors Molly Seidel, Danielle Aragon, Margaret Bamgbose and sophomore Jessica Harris as part of the distance medley relay.
“We’re going to try, on the women’s side, with our distance medley relay to get them qualified [for the NCAA championships],” Turner said. “I think our women’s team is going to be very fast; they’ve been first-team All-Americans the last two years. I’m hopeful we can continue that streak.”
Turner said Aragon will be the key member of the relay as she has only recently returned to action after suffering an ankle injury in the fall.
“Her comeback hasn’t been as quick as we would like,” Turner said. “But she has a little bit of time left to get it together. We’re hoping she can because she’s a key person for our team.”
Qualifying for the NCAA indoor championships will not be easy, however, as Turner said the Irish will race against tough competition at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
“The quality at this meet is a very good, high-quality in those events where people are trying to qualify for nationals,” Turner said. “They come here because our track is the largest indoor track on a college campus. The distance medley relay, the [4×400-meter relay], the mile, the 800 and the 400 are real popular events with a lot more entries and in those events, people can run very fast.”
With many sprinters getting a week to rest, Turner said he is looking for a good showing from his field athletes, especially a pair of men’s high jumpers: sophomore Hunter Holton and freshman Matthew Birzer.
“Anytime you can work on your technique is a good thing, where it doesn’t totally wear you out,” Turner said. “Our men’s high jumpers, Hunter Holton, Matthew Birzer, those guys have been pretty consistent so I’m still waiting for breakout meets. These are two guys that have been under the radar most of the season. And these are guys, just looking at the ACC depth chart, they can definitely get in there and get some points for us — I believe in fifth to eighth place. If they get higher than fifth, I’m going to be ecstatic, but those guys have been working their tails off.”
Turner also said he has high expectations for junior thrower Anthony Shivers who started the year well but has since faded.
“Shivers, I keep saying it every week, because he started off so hot,” Turner said. “He had a little lull there in January, and he had some very tough competition, he’s been facing almost every week All-American guys in the weight throw. He needs to step it up just a notch to make sure we get those points at the ACC meet.”
The Alex Wilson Invitational begins Saturday at 10 a.m. at Loftus Sports Center.