Track and Field
Irish start outdoor season with strong showing at Hurricane Invitational
Peter Baltes | Thursday, March 22, 2018
A new season has begun for Notre Dame. After sending eight athletes to the NCAA indoor championships, the Irish kicked off spring competition this past weekend at the two-day Hurricane Invitational. The Irish posted strong results in their first outdoor showing of the year, excelling in the infield and earning 16 top-five finishes.
Irish men’s distance coach Sean Carlson said he is proud of the team’s accomplishments over the course of the winter season. The men’s distance medley relay won silver at the national meet, and he said he sees a lot of potential for continued growth for the men’s distance runners this spring and beyond.
“Part of that was in how we train, preparing for the national meet all year round,” he said. “We’ve had a group of guys that I think, most importantly, who have kind of bought into what we’re doing. … They were running not just for themselves, but for something bigger than themselves. … What’s happening here is kind of unique. The depth throughout the men’s team on the distance side is really showing, and also we have one of the best men’s recruiting class coming in next year, too. It’s a really exciting time to be a part of Notre Dame [track and field].”
Carlson said the team is planning on taking this momentum into the spring and building off of the positive energy.
“The most important goal right now is continuing to build the culture of the program … continuing to push this selfless environment,” he said. “If we can continue to do that outdoors, we’re going to have some pretty good results.”
With its results this past weekend, Notre Dame appears to already be on the right path in this regard.
The Irish had marked success in the field events. Competing in the men’s pole vault, graduate student Nathan Richartz cleared the bar at 5.60 meters, breaking the school record and winning first place in the event. Richartz was named ACC Field Performer of the Week on Tuesday for his record-setting performance.
Notre Dame also had two men’s high jumpers in the top three. Junior Matthew Birzer and senior Hunter Holton each cleared 2.05 meters, placing second and third, respectively.
The Irish throwers were largely successful as well. Sophomore Shae Watkins earned third place in the discus with a throw of 49.84 meters, and sophomore Logan Kusky finished third in the hammer throw with a distance of 61.27 meters.
On the women’s side, graduate student Indi Jackson won the shot put with a throw of 15.55 meters. Freshman Gabrielle Diederich also found success, finishing third place in the javelin with a throw of 43.77 meters.
Notre Dame found considerable success on the track as well, placing near the top in several events. On the women’s side, sophomores Naya Sharp, Summer Thorpe and Michaela Butler and junior Kyla Lewis posted a time of 45.38 seconds in the 4×100-meter relay, earning a second-place finish. In the 4×400-meter relay, a team of Thorpe and seniors Allison Bartoszewicz, Payton Miller and Jordan Shead also finished runner-up, crossing the line in 3:40.86.
Thorpe led a group of four Irish runners who finished in the top ten in the 100-meter hurdles, earning fourth place with a time of 13.52 seconds. Shead finished fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.31 seconds and Lewis earned fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.74 seconds.
Sophomore sprinter Troy Pride Jr. led the way for the Irish men. Pride Jr. secured fourth place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.61 seconds. He also earned 10th place in the 200-meter dash, running it in 21.51 seconds.
This coming weekend, the Irish will be traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, to compete in the Black and Gold Invitational at Vanderbilt. Carlson said he is hoping to use the meet as an opportunity to continue building up the team’s experience in preparation for the tougher meets ahead.
“This weekend is kind of a weekend to get some of our guys more experience in terms of racing and also to set the tone for the rest of the season,” Carlson said. “This weekend, [we hope to] get a little bit of momentum going.”
The two-day meet, to be held at the Vanderbilt Track and Field Complex, will begin at 4 p.m. Friday and run through Saturday afternoon.