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Track and Field

Irish set several school records in weekend meets

| Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Notre Dame sent its distance runners to opposite coasts this past weekend, as the Irish competed at both the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California, as well as the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“This week was distance runners and middle distance,” Irish head coach Matt Sparks said. “Specifically, more of the middle-distance runners went to Stanford while the longer distance people went to Raleigh. Of course, the two people [that placed at the top], who we’ve followed the lead of for the last couple years, were [sophomore] Yared Nuguse and [graduate student] Jess Harris. We’re setting ourselves up for a really good outdoor season with those two.”

Harris, running in her first race since the cross-country season, finished second overall in the 800-meters with a time of 2:04.84. Harris currently ranks third nationally in that event. Nuguse managed to top that performance by winning the men’s 800-meter race, finishing in a time of 1:48.29 and recording the ninth-best time in program history.

Anna Mason | The Observer
Senior middle distance runner Kelly Hart makes a turn at the Meyo Invitational hosted by the Irish on Feb. 1.

Meanwhile, at the Raleigh Relays, the Irish also took to re-writing the program record books. Freshman Anna Fischer earned the seventh-best all-time Notre Dame finish in the women’s 3K steeplechase with a time of 10:50.02. However, the highlight of the meet came from the men’s 10K race, as junior Kevin Salvano and freshman Danny Kilrea both finished with top-10 times in program history. Salvano recorded a ninth-place finish in 28:54.46 — the fifth-fastest 10K in Notre Dame history — while Kilrea finished right behind him in 10th and a time of 28:55.25 to etch his name into sixth place.

Sparks commented on how these early-season performances will set both the individuals and the team up well for a long run in the outdoor season.

“Basically, we spend the entire outdoor track season working towards qualifying for the NCAA Regional meet,” Sparks said. “In the men’s 10K, we feel like we qualified four men to the NCAA Regional meet. That’s a good set-up for them for later in the year. They’ve got their qualifiers out of the way early, and now they can worry about training and setting up for the conference and regional meet down the road.”

The distance team having spent itself at two separate meets, Sparks noted that this upcoming weekend — which will see the Irish travel to the North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida — will once again be focused on the rest of the team and their events.

“Now we’re going back to where we were two weeks ago, as most of the athletes that didn’t go to Raleigh or Stanford are going to North Florida,” Sparks said. “The University of North Florida is hosting the NCAA Regional meet, so it’s a great opportunity for the throwers and sprinters and jumpers to get a lay of the land, which is especially important for the throwing events as each ring is a little different. [They’ll] get a feel of the facility that they will be back competing on in six weeks, trying to qualify into the NCAA championship. There will be a few distance runners competing there as well, but the primary team will be made up of throwers, sprinters and jumpers. Hoping to get a few athletes marked [for the regional].”

Sparks also noted that the Irish will also send a small contingent of unproven distance runners up north this weekend to the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing, Michigan.

“We’re going to take a small group of distance runners who haven’t had the chance to compete this year,” Sparks said. “They’re still developing, and maybe coming off some aches and pains, but it’s a chance for them to compete. Whereas, next weekend in Louisville, [close to the whole team] will be there.”

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to formerly serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

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