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Track and Field

Irish to run on new track in Iowa ahead of Meyo Invitational

| Thursday, January 26, 2017

Looking to build off their fourth-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational last Saturday, the Irish say goodbye to campus and will hit the road this weekend for the two-day Black and Gold Premier in Iowa City, Iowa.

Hosted by Iowa, the Irish will also compete alongside Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Illinois State, Loyola and Tulsa at the Black and Gold Premier, which will be held Friday and Saturday at the newly renovated UI Recreation Building. Installed during the fall, the world-class track is attracting big-time programs from coast-to-coast, and Irish head coach Alan Turner is excited to watch his team compete on a premier surface this early in the season.

“This is our first time going out to Iowa in a long time,” Turner said. “They have a brand-new track that was used last year at the World Indoor Championships, so it’s fast. This is a good opportunity for all of the athletes, regardless [of] if they’re All-Americans or just conference [runners], or even some of the developmental athletes … to get on a very good facility and compete. We’re excited about going.”

Although the Black and Gold Premier is certainly a special opportunity for the athletes to compete on a world-class facility, the competition itself — as is often the case in smaller, early-season meets — will lack the depth of quality that the Irish will face the following weekend when they host the annual Meyo Invitational at Loftus Sports Center. Turner views Iowa’s meet as a special opportunity for the Irish to compete well in but not at the expense of wasting the team’s legs with the much more important Meyo Invitational on the horizon. Thus, he said his main focus is to balance both goals throughout the Black and Gold Premier.

“It’s a little bit of both,” Turner said. “Anytime we get on the track, we want to be very competitive and [give] it 100 percent, but this meet is not a scored meet, so we’re not going with all our gun barrels loaded and firing. For the athletes that are going, we’re going to get after it. This is an opportunity to be on a banked 200-meter track that was used at the World Championships, so we’re excited to get on that facility.”

Turner and the Irish will be missing arguably their two biggest guns at Iowa, as graduate student Molly Siedel and sophomore Anna Rohrer opted for rest in preparation for the highly anticipated Meyo Invitational, a strategy that is not uncommon among the distance groups, according to Turner.

“We’ve got a limited number of distance people going, because [distance] will be gearing up for the Meyo Invitational,” he said. “All the events at the Meyo are loaded fields, and running [distance races] every week is rough on them, so a lot of times they will run every other meet.”

Even at less than full strength, Notre Dame will still look to make an impression in Iowa City at the Black and Gold Premier. The two-day competition begins Friday at 11 a.m. and continues Saturday at 10 a.m.

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to formerly serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

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