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Track and Field

Irish take running start toward home season, eye spots at championships

| Thursday, January 20, 2022

Notre Dame’s track & field team is eager to put on a strong showing at home Saturday after rolling into the new year with great team performances at the University of Michigan’s Harvey-Simmons Invitational. The Irish will host for the first time in 2022 at the Notre Dame Invitational, welcoming a mixture of teams that includes the likes of DePaul University and Loyola University Chicago to Loftus Sports Center.

Some names to watch for who truly shined last weekend would be sophomore Alaina Brady, who took home the win in the long jump with a personal record of 5.82 meters, and senior Jacqueline Gaughan, who ran a 9:34 in the 3000 for a win. On the men’s side, Notre Dame placed three athletes in the top four of the shot put and six 400 runners within two seconds of each other, with grad student Max Frye narrowly leading the pack. Both of these congregations of athletes ending on or near the podium will surely be interesting plotlines to follow at the Notre Dame Invitational. 

Notre Dame’s two standout throwers, sophomore Michael Shoaf and grad student Rachel Tanczos, will look continue their dominant form Saturday. Shoaf won both the shot put and weight throw last weekend, while Tanczos did the same in the weight throw and managed a second-place finish in her non-specialty, the shot put.  

Shoaf, a resident of Carroll Hall, and Tanczos, formerly of Pasquerilla East Hall, share many goals for the Notre Dame Invitational and the season at large.

Shoaf said he aims to win both the shot put and weight throw this weekend. Tanczos said it means a lot to compete inside of Loftus with the convenience of no strenuous bus travel and the added benefit of the home atmosphere.

With the season just starting up, both throwers have their eyes on the prizes that lay at the end of both the indoor and outdoor seasons. 

Shoaf is looking to medal at the conference meet and qualify for the Indoor National Championships this year. Tanczos is looking to better a second-place finish in the weight throw at the Indoor National Championships last year after coming up short by only two centimeters, as well as to throw for a personal record of 24 meters. 

Shoaf and Tanczos both expressed a desire to return to the national championships for the outdoor season in the spring. Shoaf said that the momentum from this accomplishment has “launched him into this indoor season.”

Both Shoaf and Tanczos commented on the importance of team mentality and said the team’s bond intensifies as the competitions ramp up.

“We always have a really good time at practice, but also know how to get after it,” Tanczos said. 

Shoaf compared his preparation for meets to performing academically.

“It is just like going to class or anything else,” he said. “Just show up, make sure you put in quality time and check out.”

Saturday’s invitational kicks off at 12:00 p.m. in the Loftus Sports Center.

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About Jack Sirianni

Jack Sirianni is a member of the Class of 2025 pursuing a major in Political Science with minors in Journalism and Public Policy. He is a proud resident of Fisher Hall and as a Michigan native, he can often be found enjoying the South Bend wilderness. Jack has also written for every Observer department on topics ranging from social justice to campus signage.

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