Track and Field
Irish split squad into three teams for final road competition of indoor season
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, February 8, 2019
This weekend, Notre Dame will conclude its last regular season indoor competitions away from home before the squad gears up for championship season.
The Irish will be split into three groups for meets taking place in Iowa and Clemson, lasting from Friday afternoon and continuing through Saturday. Iowa State will be hosting the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center. Clemson University will host the Tiger Paw Invitational at the Clemson Indoor T&F Complex. The nearest meet to home for the Irish is the Hoosier Hills Invitational, taking place in Bloomington, In. on Friday — the meet will began at 4 p.m. at Gladstein Fieldhouse.
The men and women’s distance teams will be heading to Ames, looking to continue the momentum after a strong showing at the Meyo Invitational last weekend. Sophomore Yared Nuguse remained victorious for the second consecutive year in the Meyo Mile, finishing with a season-best time of 4:01.10. Nuguse earned a personal best in the 3000-meter at Iowa State in 2018 and will be competing in the same event on Friday. Other strong showings at the Meyo Invitational included freshman Jackie Gaughan, who lead the Irish women in the 3,000 and finishing third with a time of 9:22.88. Gaughan will being competing in the 5,000-meter run on Friday alongside senior Annie Heffernan.
While the distance team will stay together on the road, the throwing teams will attempt to divide and conquer, as they will send individuals to both Bloomington and Clemson. Junior Shae Watkins and sophomore John Stefan will be heading to Clemson to take on top competition in the country, as Auburn, Duke, Florida State and North Carolina will all be in attendance. Both Watkins and Stefan had successful outings last time out at the Meyo Invitational, as Watkins threw for 16.56-meters and placed fourth, which was followed closely by Stefan, who posted a throw for 16.13-meters to earn seventh place. Two freshman throwers will be sent to represent the Irish in the shot put at Bloomington: the men will send Grayson Zinn, while the women will be represented by Alesis Juntunen.
With the exception of women’s hurdles, the sprint team will be staying together in Bloomington. Junior hurdlers Summer Thorpe and Naya Sharp will be heading to Clemson after their impressive performances last weekend. Thorpe won the 60-meter hurdles finals with a time of 8.38, followed by Grace Cronin (8.541) and Sharp (8.544), who placed sixth and seventh, respectively. Cronin will travel to IU to represent the hurdles team there. Cronin and the sprint team will be facing the top talent in the region at the Hoosier Hills Invitational, with schools like Louisville, Butler and Missouri State all sending their best competitors.
After the Irish return from their varying destinations, they will have a week to prepare for their final indoor home meet of the year, the Alex Wilson Invitational. After the Invitational, the team will be in preparations for postseason competition with the ACC Championships occurring the following weekend. Finally, the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will take place in Birmingham, Ala. in early March.