Track and Field
Notre Dame tallies four wins at Meyo Invitational
Peter Baltes | Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Notre Dame hosted the storied Meyo Invitational on Friday and Saturday, attended by hundreds of athletes from teams hailing from across the country. The Irish showed up prepared, improving times and posting multiple first-place finishes.
For Irish head coach Alan Turner, the team’s performance at the Invitational was an encouraging sign for the rest of the indoor season. Across the board, the Irish beat personal records and finished at or near the top in various events.
“I told the team two weeks ago we really need to step our performances up because the season goes by very, very fast, and as a whole, they did that,” Turner said. “I don’t know how many PRs we had this weekend, but there were quite a few.”
Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s teams each turned in two individual wins. For the Irish women, both of those victories took place on the track. Senior Notre Dame middle-distance runner Jessica Harris finished the 3,000-meter run first with a time of 9:19.50, while senior sprinter Jordan Shead bested the competition for a first-place finish in the 400-meter dash, clocking in at 53.45. Turner cited Shead’s race as particularly noteworthy.
“[Shead] was in the second-fastest heat,” he said. “I thought she was capable of 53.80, she runs 53.45 and wins the meet, and she went through traffic to do that, so that was very impressive.”
Among the rest of the Irish women, there were numerous other notable finishes as well. Sophomore Summer Thorpe finished fourth overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.47, while junior Kyla Lewis placed seventh overall in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.66. Junior Kelly Hart finished seventh in the 800-meter race, finishing with a time of 2:09.04. On the infield, sophomore Kassadee Ifft placed fourth in the pole vault event, clearing a height of 3.87-meter.
The Irish men were led by junior jumper Matthew Birzer and freshman distance runner Yared Nuguse. Birzer continued his four-meet win streak in the high jump by tying for first place, clearing the bar at a height of 2.19 meters. Nuguse placed first in the Meyo Mile, crossing the line in 4:02.44, followed closely by teammate and graduate student Jacob Dumford, who earned in third place with a time of 4:03.43. Sophomore sprinter Troy Pride Jr. nearly added a third victory for the Irish men, finishing only .01 seconds behind the leader in the 60-meter dash securing second place with a time of 6.88.
Turner had many positive things to say about the Notre Dame men.
“Birzer had a PR, he tied [for first] in the high jump. [It was] Yared [Nuguse]’s first collegiate mile, and he won the Meyo Mile,” he said. “He’s going to be in the fast races throughout his career, if he runs with people he’s going to run very, very fast.”
Graduate distance runner Elijah Silva added another strong finish for the men, placing seventh in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:51.60.
According to Turner, the Irish have now set up a strong base from which to pursue excellence in the remaining weeks of the season.
“As a whole, we’re getting there as a team,” he said. “These guys still have a long way to go and we’ve got a short time to do it, to see if we can move up in the standings of what we did last year in the ACC. [The team] knows these next two weeks are going to be tough, and mentally we’re a lot stronger than we were three weeks ago.”
Notre Dame will continue its indoor season this coming weekend at the Iowa State Classic and the Spire D-1 Invitational, which both begin Friday.