May 25, 2017
By Megan Golden
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Notre Dame track and field team has secured its 26th straight trip to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. On the opening day of the NCAA East Regional, the Irish punched one ticket to Eugene and saw four more athletes advance in the postseason at Kentucky's Cliff Hagan Stadium.
What started as a rainy day ultimately ended with a beautiful sunset and a successful night at the track. Junior Jordan Shead wasted no time getting the Irish started, finishing second in her heat and 21st overall in the 400m hurdles to open the track events. Shead's top-three finish in her heat automatically qualifies her for Friday's quarterfinal race.
In the second heat of the women's 1,500m, graduate student Danielle Aragon crossed the finish line in third with a time of 4:23.52. Junior Jessica Harris (4:21.53) followed Aragon's lead in the final heat of the 1,500m with second place in her heat. Harris and Aragon finished seventh and 18th overall, respectively, and automatically qualified for Saturday's quarterfinals.
The third heat of the men's 1,500m dominated the action as the top seven finishers in the heat finished with the top seven spots overall. Senior Jacob Dumford (3:48.75) controlled that seventh spot in the third heat, running the second-fastest time among non-automatic qualifiers and earning a spot in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Junior Christopher Marco (3:51.41) just missed qualifying as he wrapped up in 28th overall, four spots away from advancing.
Sophomore All-American Kelly Hart (2:09.06) placed 26th overall in the 800m, just barely missing automatic qualification. Hart, who wound up three spots away from qualifying, finished .02 seconds behind the third-place finisher and automatic qualifier in her heat.
In their NCAA Regional debut, senior Patrick O'Connell ran the 800m in 1:54.94, while junior Kirk Hansen finished fifth in his heat with a time of 1:51.73.
Senior Anthony Shivers competed in the hammer throw, recording a mark of 60.51m (198-6).
The evening concluded with back-to-back 10,000m races as sophomore Anna Rohrer (33:46.61) clinched a spot in the NCAA Championships with a seventh-place finish. Rohrer, who owns the best collegiate 10,000m time in the United States this year, will make her first appearance at the outdoor championships after not competing last spring. Irish graduate student Kathleen Darling completed the 10,000m in 35:38.46.
In his first career NCAA action, junior Kevin Pulliam closed the night's action with a time of 31:40.67 in the 10,000m.
Full Schedule (all times ET)
4:30 p.m. Men's Pole Vault First Round Nate Richartz
7 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles Quarterfinal Jordan Shead
2 p.m. Men's Discus First Round Anthony Shivers
6 p.m. Men's High Jump First Round Matthew Birzer, Hunter Holton
6 p.m. Women's Shot Put First Round Indi Jackson, Abbey Kapitan
6:30 p.m. Women's 1500m Quarterfinal Dani Aragon, Jessica Harris
6:45 p.m. Men's 1500m Quarterfinal Jacob Dumford
8:05 p.m. Women's 5000m Semifinal Anna Rohrer
The NCAA East Regionals will be streamed live by the NCAA beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET on Friday, and Saturday's action will be live at 6 p.m.
For a closer, behind-the-scenes look at the Irish track and field program, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women's basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.