May 12, 2018
By Matt Paras
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Notre Dame track and field team finished off the 2018 ACC Championships Saturday night in Coral Gables and the Irish picked up three more medals on the final day of competition along with a number of all-ACC honors. At the end of the meet, the women's team finished ninth with 49 points and the men's team finished 12th with 35.5 points.
Jessica Harris started strong in the first of her two final events Saturday night. She raced out to the front of the pack in the women’s 1500m and took the lead shortly after the first lap. She held the lead heading into the final lap before she was passed by Virginia Tech’s Pocratsky. Harris finished second overall with a season-best time of 4:14.27 to claim first team All-ACC honors and the fifth medal of her career in an ACC meet.
In the men’s 1500m final, Yared Nuguse and Jacob Dumford faced a strong field of runners but did not disappoint. The pair stayed with the main pack of runners throughout the race until the final lap where Nuguse made his move. The freshman took to the outside and passed the nine-time ACC champion Justyn Knight down the final stretch to finish third (3:46.86) to claim first team All-ACC honors and the bronze medal. Dumford finished sixth with a time of 3:49.20 and earned second team All-ACC honors.
Harris was back on the track a little over an hour later to take part in the 800m final with teammate Kelly Hart. Just like in the prelims, Harris jumped out to the lead pack early on with Hart not far behind her. The pair finished back-to-back with Harris in fifth (2:05.80) and Hart in sixth (2:06.99) and both earned second team All-ACC honors.
To lead off the afternoon for the Irish, freshman Gabrielle Diederich made her mark in her first career conference meet. In her final attempt in the javelin, Diederich set a personal record (44.54m, 146-2) and finished third overall to claim a bronze medal.
Juniors Annie Heffernan and Rachel DaDamio fared well in the women’s 5000m final later on in the evening. The pair stayed up in the front pack of runners for the majority of the race with Heffernan getting as far up as second. They crossed the finish line back-to-back as Heffernan finished fifth (16:23.36) and DaDamio (16:24.38) was sixth to earn second team All-ACC honors.
Sophomore Troy Pride Jr. went up against some of the nation’s best in the 100m dash final. The Greer, S.C. native held his own against the field, finishing seventh overall with a time of 10.56 in the fourth conference final appearance of his career.
The Irish will return to campus and prepare for the upcoming NCAA East Regional. All athletes that qualify will travel to Tampa, Fla. on May 24-26 in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
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.