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Track and Field

Irish enjoy strong weekend of infield performances at Sun Angel Classic

| Wednesday, April 11, 2018

This past weekend, Notre Dame competed at Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Arizona. The Irish put forth many impressive performances over the course of the meet, especially on the infield.

One of the biggest storylines for the Irish this season has been the strong performance of graduate student pole vaulter Nathan Richartz. Richartz did not disappoint at the Sun Angel Classic, winning the men’s pole vault after clearing 5.55 meters on his first attempt. It was Richartz’s third win of the year, as he has won the event in every meet he has competed in so far this season.

Irish jumps coach Jim Garnham said he has been very pleased with Richartz’s work so far.

“The biggest thing right now is just being consistent, and he’s [been] super consistent at this point in time,” Garnham said. “In the jumping events, you want to be consistent because at the end of the year, when you’re getting ready to jump at the national meet, the person with the most consistency will be in the running to win. … He works hard, he’s busted his butt. Everything that he gets, he’s earned.”

Junior Matthew Birzer put together a very strong performance in the men’s high jump, earning fourth place overall in the event after clearing the bar at 2.10 meters. Senior Hunter Holton finished in 10th place, clearing the bar in 2.05 meters. Freshman Antonio Villegas Jimenez finished eighth overall in the long jump, finishing with a distance of 6.86 meters.

Garnham said he is proud of how his squad has trained so far in the outdoor season, noting that the training volume is about to gradually decrease as the postseason draws nearer.

“The group is good,” he said. “Since the end of the [indoor] conference meet, we’ve kind of gotten on them, and we’ve been training really hard and [with] lots of volume. Now, it’s the fun stuff; now, we’re starting to back off, we’re peaking and getting ready to go for postseason competition.”

Notre Dame athletes put together strong performances in several other field events. On the men’s side, sophomore thrower Shae Watkins led the way in the discus throw, winning second place overall with a throw of 52.20 meters. Junior Daniel Hardiman earned ninth place in the event, throwing for a distance of 48.01 meters. Both athletes set new personal records with their throws, with Watkins’ throw ranking 10th in school history.

The Irish also picked up a pair of top-10 finishes in both the men’s and women’s hammer throw. Sophomore Logan Kusky finished ninth place with a distance of 58.04 meter. On the women’s side, sophomore Abbey Kapitan (48.84 meters) and freshman Rachel Tanczos (47.83 meters) finished in sixth and seventh place overall, respectively.

Tanczos went on to finish third overall in the shot put. She threw for a distance of 14.79 meters, a new personal record.

The Irish were able to find some success on the track as well. Senior sprinter Jordan Shead earned third place and a personal best in the women’s 200-meter dash, finishing with a time of 24.35 seconds. Shead secured another top-ten finish in the 400-meter dash, crossing the line in 54.33 seconds to take eighth place.

An Irish team of Shead, sophomore Summer Thorpe, senior Allison Bartoszewicz and sophomore Grace Cronin competed in the 4×400-meter relay, finishing in seventh place with a time of 3:42.83.

Notre Dame goes back into action again this weekend, this time traveling to the Louisville Invitational in Kentucky. Notre Dame’s jumps group has often found success there in the past, Garnham said. The Irish hope to perform well there this weekend and continue to build momentum as the postseason nears.

“Typically for the jumps group, Louisville has always been a really good place for us to jump,” Garnham said. “It just depends on the weather — right now it looks like it’s going to be raining on Saturday and on the cooler side. … It’s a low-key meet, but it’s a great place to jump. … It’s always been a good place, and I always look forward to going there.”

The two-day competition will begin Friday at 2 p.m.. Saturday’s events will begin at 11 a.m.

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