Track and Field
Irish set multiple school records in ACC/Big 10 Challenge
Joe Everett | Thursday, April 20, 2017
The Irish competed in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge last Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky at Cardinal Park, with the men’s squad ultimately placing fifth overall and the women placing sixth.
While neither team finished particularly high, Irish head coach Alan Turner explained that a high team score was not the objective coming into the meet. Rather, he said he wanted to give his athletes experience, potentially in events they don’t normally run.
“Our goal was not to try to win the Louisville Invitational,” Turner said. “We were more concerned with some of the individuals we had competing. Some of our top athletes were running in a lot of off-events. For example [sophomore] Anna Rohrer was running the 1500-meters. For someone who normally runs the 5K and 10K that race feels like a 50-yard dash for her — but she needs to work on her speed and was able to do that — so we had a lot of people doing off events. We were working on specific things with specific athletes, so it really wasn’t about the team score.”
With that being said, the Irish still had several strong performances in Louisville, setting several school records along the way. Senior Anthony Shivers, participating in the hammer throw for the fourth time this season, set a school record with 65.60-meter throw – recording a first-place finish. Fellow senior Nathan Richartz followed up the performance with his own school record, grabbing first-place with a 5.51m vault in the pole vault, good enough for eighth in the country this year. Richartz earned ACC field performer of the week honors.
On the women’s side, sophomore Alexa Coubal set a personal record for the second straight week, throwing 45.02 meters in the women’s discus. In the 400-meter dash, junior Jordan Shead ran a third-place time of 53.41, setting a personal record, while sophomore All-American Kelly Hart ran the 800-meters with a time of 2:11.02 to set her own personal record. With Notre Dame’s stars performing well, Turner says he needs to shift his energy towards developing the next tier of up-and-coming athletes for the Irish.
“My top athletes are clicking on all cylinders as far as where they need to be,” Turner said. “The thing for us as a coaching staff is how to get athletes who are not necessarily these first-team All-Americans, but people who are definitely finalists in the ACC conference, up to top-level performances. This meet at Louisville was an opportunity to work through the kinks and get a lot of things accomplished for us.”
The team will be split up this upcoming weekend, as the distance runners will head to Charlottesville to compete in the Virginia Challenge, while the rest of the team will compete in the Michael Johnson Invitational held in Waco, Texas. Turner views both of these meets as critical opportunities for individuals for shine.
“Both of these meets are going to be tough for us,” Turner said. “Both of the fields are stacked, but that’s what I want for us — the opportunity to compete at good venues with hopefully good conditions. For a lot of my athletes, this is the last time they may run an individual event before the ACC championship, because next weekend we have the Penn Relays, so this weekend is very critical in the whole game plan for this season. We’re looking for some top performances from everyone that’s entered to carry towards peaking at the ACC championships.”