Track and Field
Irish ready for ACC championships
Peter Baltes | Wednesday, February 21, 2018
The Irish recently finished up a successful regular season and have begun preparation for competition at the conference level.
From Thursday through Sunday, several athletes from Notre Dame will be competing at the ACC indoor track and field championships in Clemson, South Carolina. The Irish will be seeking to perform their best and earn as many NCAA qualifying spots as possible.
On the men’s side, Notre Dame has multiple athletes in position to make an impact in the distance events. Irish assistant coach Sean Carlson said the competition in these races should help push the Irish athletes to success.
“The conference is very deep and strong in the distance events, from a national level,” he said. “They’ll be running against some of the best times in the country, at least on paper.”
Carlson projected Notre Dame’s distance medley relay team — made up of graduate student Jacob Dumford, junior Edward Cheatham, graduate student Elijah Silva, and freshman Yared Nuguse — to fall within the top two at the championships. The relay broke a school record last weekend, a performance that won Nuguse ACC Player of the Week honors. Currently ranked sixth in the country, the team is projected to advance to nationals.
Carlson said he was optimistic about Notre Dame’s chances in other distance events
“Dumford and [Nuguse] should definitely make the final [of the mile], and they’re both trying to score in that,” he said.“ … Elijah [Silva]…will be trying to make the final in the 800-meters. The whole men’s distance team is miles ahead of where it was a year ago or two years ago. It’s kind of exciting to see them all progress in the right direction.”
Sophomore sprinter Troy Pride Jr. will be leading a group of talented Irish sprinters at the meet, and junior high jumper Matt Birzer will be looking to continue his remarkable success during the regular season.
The Irish women are also gearing up for the championships this weekend. Associate head coach Matt Sparks said high expectations for the distance medley, made up of junior Kelly Hart and seniors Payton Miller, Samantha Murray and Jessica Harris. The team is currently placed 11th nationally, and Sparks said he is hoping that another strong performance this weekend will be enough to guarantee qualification and potentially win the conference.
“We won the [Distance Medley Relay at the ACCs] last year, so we’d like to defend our title with a very similar lineup,” he said. “Whenever you anchor Jessica Harris, good things should happen, so we’re excited about that event.”
Sparks said Murray and Hart are in good position to advance to the 800-meter finals and score some points.
The meet will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Clemson Indoor Track and Field Complex, and will continue through Saturday afternoon.