Track and Field
Irish distance runners prepare to open outdoor season
Joe Everett | Friday, March 24, 2017
Notre Dame will step back on the track this weekend when it competes in the Raleigh Relays on North Carolina State’s Paul Derr Track.
After the sprinters, jumpers and throwers started their outdoor season last week in at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta, Irish head coach Alan Turner said this weekend is for the distance team to break into outdoor competition.
“Traditionally, the Raleigh Relays has been a very good opening meet for distance runners, especially people running the 1,500-meter, 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter,” Turner said. “The group that we’re taking is a lot of our younger guys and girls who haven’t run a lot, so this is a chance for them to really get their feet wet for the first time.”
The Irish look forward to getting several of their distance athletes off the sidelines, including graduate student Danielle Aragon, who will race in the 800-meter. Turner looks forward to getting Aragon, a four-time first team All-American, back on the track in her final semester of eligibility.
“[Aragon] only has outdoor eligibility left, and so we didn’t want to waste any time getting her going as soon as possible – we’re looking for her to do well in the 800-meter,” Turner said. “One the men’s side, a younger person that we’re looking at is Sean Kurdy, who was one of our top recruits but has been hurt since cross country and did very little running indoors – we’re also looking for him to run pretty well this weekend.”
Kurdy will compete alongside fellow freshman Tyler Keslin, sophomore Anthony Williams and juniors Brent Kennedy and Kevin Pulliam in the 5000-meter, which comprises the participation of the men’s side at the Relays. While the team aims at a strong showing, Williams in particular is looking to build off a strong cross country season, as he led the men’s team at the ACC Cross Country Championships by finishing 28th overall with a personal record of 24:02.1.
In the women’s 1500-meter race, graduate students Kathleen Darling and Sydni Meunier and senior Lexi Pelletier will run for Notre Dame. Darling, a transfer from Wake Forest, will compete on the track for the first time with the Irish. A strong runner, Darling finished fourth in the 10,000-meter race at the ACC championships as a junior.
One of the biggest track meets on the East Coast, Turner said that the quality at the meet will be high and serves as a great opportunity — particularly for the distance team — to have a strong showing at a meet he considers to be another building block towards championship season.
“Every meet is like a building block, but it’s especially important in the outdoor season to get off to a good start,” Turner said. “As opposed to indoors, in the outdoor season, you have to take advantage every time you get out there. You don’t know if it’s going to be cold, rainy, lightning, if the meet’s going to get cancelled, et cetera. So every time you step outdoors, you need to take advantage of it. Getting off to a good start and building confidence – we did it last week at Georgia Tech where the sprinters got off to a very good start – so this is a building block meet that we’re taking seriously. I told the team this morning that this is another opportunity, and once you put on that monogram on your chest, we’re all out and we’re competing hard.”
The two-day Raleigh Relays will start Friday at noon ET and will be streamed live on ESPN3.