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Track and Field

Notre Dame to split up between two meets for postseason prep

| Friday, February 9, 2018

This coming weekend, Notre Dame will split up to participate in two separate meets. Most of the team will be competing at the Spire D-1 Invitational in Geneva, Ohio, while some of the team’s top distance and middle-distance runners will attend the Iowa State Classic. Both of these meets will serve as major opportunities for the Irish athletes to bolster their times in preparation for the fast-approaching ACC and NCAA indoor championships in late February and early March, respectively.

Irish associate head coach Matt Sparks noted that each of the two meets has its own unique pool of competition. Taking this into account, it will be more advantageous for certain athletes to compete at either Iowa State or Spire in order to edge closer to postseason qualification standards.

“At this time of year … I feel like the season’s kind of like putting together a puzzle, and the key is putting all those pieces together at the end of the year,” Sparks said. “Part of the challenge of this time of year is putting everyone with the type of competition they need to put them in the right position for championship time, and that’s what we are trying to do this weekend.”

Sparks, who specializes in distance, will be traveling with the group going to Iowa State. He said the meets this weekend will ideally help a number of athletes qualify for postseason meets.

“On the women’s side, we’re trying to get a couple kids qualified for nationals,” he said. “[Senior Jessica] Harris was a national qualifier last year in the mile — this is her chance to try to put herself on the national list where she needs to be to get to that next level.”

The Irish men at Iowa State will also be seeking to improve their positioning heading into the championship meets.

“[On the men’s side], they’re looking to run some personal bests. … We’re trying to find some better competition for a guy like [freshman] Yared [Nuguse], who won the Meyo Mile last week,” Sparks said. “We’re trying to go somewhere where he’s going to find some guys who are better than him, who will push him to new levels.”

Regardless of which meet the Irish athletes are attending, they all hold similar goals, Sparks said.

“Everybody’s got a special skill or a special mark that they’re trying to hit this weekend to either put them in a position to go to the conference meet in a few weeks … or, in some cases, to qualify for the national meet in four weeks,” Sparks said.

Both the Spire D-1 Invitational and the Iowa State Classic will take place over the course of Friday and Saturday.

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