Feb. 3, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame track and field team capped off the 31st annual Meyo Invitational in style Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center. Four individual wins and over a dozen personal-best marks highlighted the final day of the meet for the Irish.
"I told the team a few weeks ago that we need to step it up over the last few weeks of the season and we did just that this weekend," said head coach Alan Turner. "We had a number of personal records this weekend and three performances today really stood out. Matthew Birzer with a personal-record in the high jump, Yared Nuguse in his first Meyo Mile, and Jordan Shead in the 400m. As a team, we are on the right track and most of these kids should be satisfied with the results this weekend."
Birzer has been Notre Dame's most consistent finisher since the calendar shifted to 2018. He finished in a tie for first in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 2.19m (7' 7.25'). He has won the high jump in Notre Dame's last four meets.
Shead was the next Irish winner in the 400m. She finished strong in her race, claiming first place around the final turn and recorded a personal-best time of 53.45. Her time currently ranks first in the ACC and 13th in the country as of Saturday afternoon.
In marquee event of the meet, freshman Yared Nuguse made his presence known in the Meyo Mile. Nuguse took first place with a time of 4:02.44 in his first collegiate mile race. Graduate student Jacob Dumford was not far behind as he finished third with a time of 4:03.43.
The final win for the Irish came in one of the longest races of the day, the 3000m run. Competing in the event for the first time, Jessica Harris blew the competition away. She finished first with a time 9:19.50, a full four seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Notre Dame had a pair of runners compete in the 60m hurdles final and 60m dash final.
Summer Thorpe and Naya Sharp ran in the finals of the 60m hurdles to start the invitational events. Thorpe finished fourth overall with a time of 8.47, just .02 seconds shy of her personal record set in the prelims (8.45). Sharp finished eighth with a time of 8.82.
Troy Pride Jr. and Kyla Lewis ran in the finals of the 60m dash. Pride Jr. finished second overall (6.81), just .01 second behind the winner. Lewis finished seventh with a time of 7.66. Her best time of the weekend came in the prelims when she ran a 7.60.
In the 800m invitational event, Notre Dame had strong finishes on both the men's and women's side. Kelly Hart ran a 2:09.04 to finish seventh overall for the women. Elijah Silva set a personal-best time in the event (1:51.60) and finished seventh overall on the men's side.
Personal-best marks across the board
The Meyo Invitational is one of the premier indoor meets and it was no surprise that a number of Irish athletes set personal records during Saturday's events.
Four Notre Dame runners set personal records in the 3000m events. Freshmen Dustin Macuiba (8:36.98) and Vincent Zona (8:38.60) set personal-best marks in the morning sections. Andrew Alexander (8:16.52) and Brian Griffith (8:20.16) set personal-best marks in the Ryan Shay 3K.
Antonio Villegas Jimenez (6.94m) and Carter Sorenson (6.58m) had personal-best jumps in the long jump. Rachel Tanczos set a personal-best mark in the shot put (17.86m) for the second straight week.
Sophomore Kassadee Ifft had a good showing in the pole vault. She cleared 3.87m for a personal-best mark and finished fourth overall.
Junior Stephanie Knight was another Irish runner to set a personal-best mark on Saturday. She ran in the morning sections of the mile and finished with a time of 5:04.34.
Edward Cheatham had a personal-record time in the 400m run. He finished with a time of 48.80 during the morning sections.
Notre Dame will split off and compete in two meets next weekend. They will travel to the Iowa State Classic (Ames, Iowa) and the Spire D-1 Invitational (Geneva, Ohio).
For more on the Irish track and field programs, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter and Instagram.
Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse and cross country/track & field programs. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women's soccer and lacrosse programs.