Track and Field
Solid showing at IU relays prepares Irish for Meyo Invitational
Joe Everett | Wednesday, January 30, 2019
A small portion of the Notre Dame men’s and women’s track team competed down in Bloomington, Ind. this past weekend at the IU Relays, where the Irish saw encouraging performances from multiple event groups in preparation for this weekend’s Meyo Invitational.
The highlight of the competition came from junior Logan Kusky, who set a new Notre Dame record in the men’s weight throw on Friday. Kusky’s throw of 20.60 meters bested the previous team record of 20.50 meters, set by Anthony Shivers in 2017. And while Notre Dame boasted a field day on the turf thanks to Kusky’s efforts, Irish head coach Matt Sparks saw positive results on the track as well to cap off an all-around performance by his squad.
“It was a small group that competed, but the one’s that we took gained a lot from it,” Sparks said. “Obviously Logan had a big performance … coach [Adam] Beltran — our throwing coach — had sort of expected that for a while. Our women hurdlers are really starting to come along as well. [Junior] Summer Thorpe, [junior] Grace Cronin and [junior] Madysen Hunter are really hurdling well right now, and moving into a place where they can compete at the conference level. And then the middle distance girls that we took this weekend also proved [they can be competitive at conference]. They’re led by [junior] Mikayla Schneider in the 800-meter — she ran the third-fastest 800 in school history. She’s a new kid on the roster who transferred here from the University of Pennsylvania over the summer, and she’s a real compliment to [senior] Kelly Hart, who is the second-fastest all-time in the [800-meter]. Those two will be a good one-two punch as we make our final championship push.”
Overall, the Irish claimed 21 top-10 finishes over the two-day competition. Thorpe earned first place in the women’s 60-meter hurdle final with a time of 8.56 seconds, with Cronin finishing just behind her in 8.65 seconds to earn second. The Irish posted two more top-three finishes over the weekend, as sophomore Osy Ekwueme leapt 13.53 meters in the triple jump to place third overall, while Schneider earned her second-place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.56.
With the IU Relays now in the rear view mirror, Sparks and the Irish have their attention solely focused on preparing to host and compete well at the Meyo Invitational this weekend on campus. For Sparks, the meet will serve as a reliable litmus test for where his team is from a competitive standpoint, with the ACC indoor championships less than a month away.
“This is sort of the pinnacle of our hosting indoor track meets,” Sparks said. “We’re starting people in their marquee events, so we’ll get to see a bit more of how the team will look come championship time. We expect them to shine, but [overall] it’ll give a better indicator of what the team really is. For everyone, it’s trying to pinpoint what their best event is, and then trying to put their best foot forward this weekend at a big home meet.”
Unfortunately for the Irish and specifically, the distance team, the athletes have had to adjust their routine and workouts in the face of the hazardously cold outdoor conditions. Yet, the runners have stayed the course in their training in preparation for Notre Dame’s premier home meet.
“It is [affecting us], especially the distance runners. We just had them do 10 to 13 miles around the 200-meter track over the weekend … and that wears on you,” Sparks said with a chuckle. “We’re still getting the training in, it’s just not quite as scenic.”
The Meyo Invitational will begin Friday evening at 4 p.m. inside the Loftus Sports Center, before continuing on Saturday at 9:45 a.m.