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Track and Field

Irish wrap up regular season with successful home meet

| Monday, February 19, 2018

On Saturday, Notre Dame competed in the Alex Wilson Invitational, the final regular-season meet of the indoor season. This home meet was the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for the fast-approaching ACC championships, which begin Thursday.

The Irish earned strong finishes across the board, but the biggest story of the meet for Notre Dame came in the distance medley relay.

On the men’s side, the team of graduate students Jacob Dumford and Elijah Silva, junior Edward Cheatham and freshman Yared Nuguse finished with a time of 9:28.79. The squad finished fifth in the Invitational, but it posted the eighth-best mark in the country and qualified for NCAA tournament. It also broke a school record in the event that was originally set in 2014.

Notre Dame’s women’s distance medley relay team found success as well. A team consisting of junior Kelly Hart and seniors Payton Miller, Samantha Murray and Jessica Harris earned a time of 11:03.38. This places them 11th nationally and could also earn them a nationals trip.

Irish head coach Alan Turner said he was pleased with the result, noting some of the key performances that contributed to the teams’ successes.

“That was No. 1, getting those teams to the NCAA meet, and I think we accomplished that goal,” he said. “Jess [Harris] had a great anchor leg, Yared [Nuguse] on the 1,600-meter leg was 3:57 for his split, which is outstanding for a freshman, those guys he was going up against were multiple-time All-Americans … Elijah Silva ran the 800 leg for us. He’s a transfer from Tulsa. [He’s a] fifth-year guy, this is his first time going to nationals, and he had a 1:49 split on his 800 today. The guys did really great, and I’m really happy for them.”

Six Irish athletes went on to post first-place finishes in their respective events. For the men, freshman Troy Pride Jr. won the 60-meter dash in 6.88 seconds, while junior Matthew Birzer continued a five-meet winning streak in the high jump, clearing 2.12 meters in the process.

The Irish women had four first-place finishers. Sophomore Madysen Hunter won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.60 seconds, later winning the 200-meter dash in 24.67 seconds. Sophomore Michaela Butler finished ahead of the rest of the field in the 60-meter dash and freshman Rachel Tanczos won the weight throw with a distance of 17.54 meters. Sophomore pole vaulter Kassadee Ifft placed first in her event, clearing the bar at a height of 3.76 meters.

As a whole, Turner said he was proud of his team’s efforts and felt that the results show a Notre Dame team that is prepared to make a big impact at the conference meet.

“We got a lot done today, and we’re looking pretty good for the conference now … we’re probably in the middle of the pack … but that middle pack of the conference is pretty competitive and packed densely together,” Turner said. “If we can get some breakout performances and everyone has a great day, I think we can get up to No. 4 [in the conference] on both the men’s and women’s side.”

The Irish will compete at the ACC championships, which begin Thursday in Clemson, South Carolina.

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