Feb. 23, 2018
By Matt Paras
CLEMSON, South Carolina – The Notre Dame track and field team continued its success during day two of the ACC Indoor Championships. The Irish had a number of athletes advance to the finals tomorrow and many set personal-best marks on a busy day of events.
Following day two, the Notre Dame men’s team stands in sixth place with 21 points while the women are 13th with seven points.
Junior Matthew Birzer got the Irish started in the men’s high jump, the first field event of the day. Birzer finished runner-up after clearing 2.18m (7-01.75) and earned a spot on the podium. Last year at the indoor championships, he finished sixth overall after clearing 2.12m.
Sophomore Summer Thorpe entered the championships with the eighth-fastest time in the 60m hurdles. In the prelims, she needed to match or run a faster time in order to advance to the final and she did just that. In the final heat, Thorpe finished first with a personal-best time of 8.292, just edging out Gabrielle Cunningham by 0.008.
“Summer has turned on another level of determination and is in her zone,” said assistant coach Pristina Jones. “She's had some very efficient hurdle workouts with Coach Turner and continues to make strides. Still a few things to clean up but definitely believe she can run 8.2s.”
Jessica Harris kept her momentum going from the night before when she ran in the mile prelims Friday afternoon. She qualified for the final with the fastest time in the field with a 4:43.12. Sophomore Annasophia Keller will join Harris in the final, as she ran a personal-best time of 4:48.40.
“We qualified three women in the distance events to the final,” said associate head coach Matt Sparks. “Those that qualified made confident, assertive moves. I'm especially proud of Annasophia Keller in the mile with an eight-second improvement on her season-best time.”
Kelly Hart was the third female distance runner to qualify for the final. She ran the second heat of the 800m prelims and the top-two runners from each heat would advance to the final. Hart finished second with a time of 2:07.78.
In the men’s distance races, Jacob Dumford and Yared Nuguse would qualify for the final in the mile. Dumford saved his best lap for last in his heat. He ran the fastest split of the second heat (27.78) in the final lap to win and advance to tomorrow’s final. Yared Nuguse ran in the next heat and finished second in the race with a time of 4:06.81.
Troy Pride Jr. was the seventh and final Irish athlete to advance to the finals. Pride Jr. ran in the second heat of the 60m dash and finished just .005 behind the heat winner. He ran a personal-best time of 6.727 and recorded the third-fastest time of all the prelims. Pride Jr. has now advanced to the finals of the 60m dash in every meet he has competed in this season.
“Troy has been putting his race together very well,” said Jones. “His recent workouts allowed him to unload some, run smoother and turn over. He should be able to have a great 60m final run tomorrow. The hay is in the barn so nothing else to do but compete!”
Sophomore Logan Kusky was another Irish athlete to have a personal-best mark Friday afternoon. Kusky’s best throw came in his fifth attempt when he tossed 20.11m and earned fourth overall in the event.
PR’s Set on Friday
Going up against the best in the conference, a number of Irish athletes set personal-best marks Friday at the ACC Championships.
In his first ACC Championship, freshman Peter Monahan ran in the open section of the 5000m. He finished fourth in the section with a personal-best time of 14:32.93. Sophomore Annie Heffernan ran in the 5000m on the women’s side for the first time in her collegiate indoor career. She placed first in the afternoon section and eighth overall with a time of 16:43.84.
Thorpe was not the only Irish to set a personal-best mark in the 60m hurdles prelims. Naya Sharp beat her previous mark by .01 when she ran an 8.50 in the first heat. Grace Cronin also ran a personal-best time of 8.53 in the final heat.
Sharp (7.59) and Michaela Butler (7.63) both set personal-best times in the prelims of the 60m dash.
Pride Jr. also set a personal-best time in the 200m when he clocked a 21.38. On the women’s side in the 200m, Kyla Lewis (24.51) and Madysen Hunter (21.54) also set personal-best marks.
Senior Allison Bartoszewicz (55.27) and junior Zachary Zajdel (48.70) posted personal-best times in the 400m dash prelims.
In the field events, Shae Watkins joined Kusky with a personal-best mark in the weight throw. His best toss came in the third attempt with a 16.56m (54-04.00).
The final day of the ACC Championships begin tomorrow at 10:30am with the men’s triple jump. The first track event of the day will start at noon with the women’s 60m hurdles final. The ACC Network Extra starts its coverage Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. and will run until 4:30 p.m. Fans can follow along via the link here.