Track and Field
Notre Dame claims top individual conference awards
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Following their performance at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, sophomore Yared Nuguse and graduate student Jessica Harris were named men’s and women’s ACC Track Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Monday.
This honor comes on the heels of dominant performances by both distance runners against the national field. In Austin, Harris earned All-American honors with her third-place finish in the 1,500-meter while Nuguse took home gold in a come-from-behind win in the same event. However, much of their success dates back to the beginning of their careers with the Irish, as both runners proved to be a force for head coach Matt Sparks.
Throughout her five years at Notre Dame, Harris distinguished herself, earning national and conference records in both track and cross country. Although she did not participate in indoor competition this past season, she started her outdoor season strong, taking second in the 800-meter run at the Stanford Invitational. Following two top-10 finishes at the ACC Championships in the 800-meter run and the 5K, Harris automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with her performance at the East Region Prelims. At the ACC Championships, she advanced to the 1,500-meter finals after placing fourth in the preliminary competition. She finished the event with a bronze medal, besting her regional qualifying time by more than a half-second and earning All-American honors.
Meanwhile, Nuguse’s success dates back to the indoor season when he anchored the distance medley relay team that claimed gold at the Indoor National Championship. He was the lone Notre Dame athlete to qualify for the meet in Austin and made the most of the opportunity, edging out Michigan State’s Justine Kiprotich by three-thousandths of a second to earn his first individual national title.
Nuguse and Harris were two of six athletes and two coaches honored by the conference Monday.