Feb. 27, 2014
CLEMSON, S.C. --- Today may have been Notre Dame's first day of its first ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships, but you wouldn't know the Irish held rookie status if you were judging by their performances. After the events of day one, the women's track and field team is currently in fourth place and the men are at the top of the board at No. 1.
The men's ranking can be attributed in part to the fantastic performance of the distance medley relay team. The team--comprised of Chris Marco, Alex Groesch, Jacob Dumford and Jeremy Rae--took the gold in the men's DMR with a time of 9:49.99.
The four runners are now the first ACC event champions in Notre Dame track history, and the honor is made even more special by the fact that Marco, Groesch and Dumford are all freshmen on the team. Veteran fifth-year senior Rae finished the final leg of the race.
"I think it's awesome that these guys as freshmen start off with a win," Rae explained. "And hopefully just keep that going through their college careers. It's a great way to start off in the ACC."
Rae himself ran his third consecutive sub-four minute Meyo mile just a few weeks ago, and today he served as a very strong anchor to the team, the members of which all earned All-ACC Honors.
"It was a great race," said head coach Joe Piane. "It actually couldn't have unfolded better for us. There were a couple teams in there that I thought were really going to go out and bang it, and frankly they didn't. They just left us in the race. Chris Marco ran three flat for the 1,200; that was really a good race. Alex did a really good job--I had him at 49.1. Then we went to the third freshman, Jacob Dumford, who just kept us in the race, which was all we needed for Jeremy. Because if you put one of the best milers in the country on the end it's going to be like leading lambs to the slaughter, I'm afraid."
The women's solid place in the competition came from the women's side of the DMR, where Kelly Curran, Amber Lalla, Danielle Aragon and Alexa Aragon brought home a second-place finish with a time of 11:16.59. Alexa Aragon held the lead for much of the last leg until she was edged out at the second by Audrey Huth of Duke.
"The ladies did a good job," Piane said. "They came within a hair's breath of winning also. They did well."
Earlier in the day, members of the Notre Dame teams also competed in the women's pentathlon and the men's heptathlon. After the first four events were completed on Thursday, Ted Glasnow was in third place for the Irish with 3,021 points. The final events of heptathlon will take place tomorrow.
Of the declarative start to the championships, Piane says the results should serve to inspire his teams. Notre Dame came to its first ACC conference championship to do more than just compete.
"I think it sets the tone," he said. "I think people anticipated that we would score a few points in the meet. It's nice to have your `presence announced,' but I think we did it long before we got here."
Events resume tomorrow at 11 a.m. with qualifying in the running events, the conclusion of the men's heptathlon and the finals in the high jump, the weight throw and the long jump. Day two will end with the men's and women's 5,000m finals.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant