April 19, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- The University of Notre Dame track and field teams continue to make their mark in their new conference. With 88 points, the men finished in third place at Notre Dame's first-ever Outdoor Track and Field ACC Championships, and the women placed second with 96 points.
Florida State won both the men's and the women's championships, just as they did two months ago at the Indoor Championships. The Notre Dame women had the gold in their sights however, as they were just 15 points removed from first place.
"We lost by 15 points," said head coach Joe Piane. "Absolutely, everyone on the team can figure out how to get 15 more points. We can. We scared them, I can tell you that. And people know that we're in the ACC now."
The women's strong finish can be attributed to several outstanding performances over the course of the day. Jade Barber made history as the first Irish athlete to claim an ACC Outdoor Championship gold medal when she placed first in the women's 100m hurdles with a time of 12.98. That time is not only Barber's season-best, but it is currently the fifth best time in the country this season.
Earning another gold medal for Notre Dame was the women's 4x400 relay team comprised of Barber, Michelle Brown, Amber Lalla and Margaret Bamgbose. The team's time of 3:33.73 was what put the Irish over the top to secure second place at the end of the meet.
"On the men's side, we could have gotten a few more points if you look through it," Piane explained. "There's not a doubt about that. The kids really did compete well. Pat Feeney and Chris Giesting just did a terrific job. They ran four events. That's spectacular."
Feeney and Giesting each ran in the 200m, 400m, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay. In those four events, the two athletes earned a combined 28 points for the men's team, making their weekend very impressive indeed.
Another big event for the men was the 5,000m run, where Nick Happe placed first and Michael Clevenger came in third. Happe's performance made him the first male Notre Dame athlete to win a gold medal at an ACC Championship, and it is important to note that he also won the event at the Indoor Championships early this year.
The Irish now look ahead to next weekend's Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Further in the distance, the NCAA preliminary events begin in late May, giving the teams plenty of time to prepare for the ultimate goal of the season.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant