Feb. 21, 2018
By Matt Paras
NOTRE DAME, Indiana - The Notre Dame track and field team left campus this morning to begin its journey to Clemson, South Carolina for the 2018 ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships. The championships will open with the heptathlon and pentathlon Thursday afternoon and then the men's and women's distance medley relay will close out day one.
WHAT: 2018 ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships
WHERE: Clemson Indoor Track & Field Complex (Clemson, S.C.)
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 22 - Saturday, Feb. 24
LIVE RESULTS: Live Results
FRIDAY'S BROADCAST (3:30-8:30pm): Friday Live Link
SATURDAY'S BROADCAST (12-4:30pm): Saturday Live Link
Associate head coach Matt Sparks is looking forward to the DMR tomorrow evening after both relay teams performed well at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
"Both DMR's ran really well this past weekend and that should hopefully get us into the national meet," said Sparks. "We won the [women's] DMR last year so we want to defend our title with a very similar lineup. Anytime you anchor Jessica Harris, good things happen so we are excited about that."
Last week Kelly Hart, Payton Miller, Samantha Murray and Harris ran together for the first time this season and finished with the 11th best time in the country with a 11:03.38. Hart, Miller and Harris were all on the relay team that finished first at last year's conference championships and qualified for nationals.
On the men's side, Jacob Dumford, Elijah Silva, Edward Cheatham and Yared Nuguse broke the school record with a time of 9:28.79. Nuguse ran a sub four-minute mile split (3:57.38) and was named ACC Track Performer of the Week. Their time currently ranks sixth in the country and just 0.2 seconds behind Virginia Tech for best in the conference.
"The goal heading into this weekend is to be top-two in the conference for the distance medley relay," said assistant coach Sean Carlson. "Last weekend was their first time running it. I think it will cool for them to bond a little more and find a groove together this weekend competing for a conference championship."
Nuguse and Dumford will be competing in the mile this weekend and look to make the finals as they hold some of the top times in the conference. After finishing first and third in the mile at the Meyo Invitational, their times rank eighth and 11th in the ACC heading into the weekend.
Harris will be running in the mile on the women's side and looks to defend her title in the event. Last year, she ran a personal-best time of 4:33.80 in the finals to claim first place. Her season-best time from the Iowa State Classic (4:36.46) ranks second in the conference and 12th nationally.
The Irish sprinters will have a good chance of scoring points in a number of events this weekend. Jordan Shead will be running in the 400m and the 4x400m relay this weekend. Following her win in the 400m dash at the Meyo Invitational, Shead has the second-best time in the conference.
Troy Pride Jr. will be running in the 60m and 200m dash this weekend and both of his times rank 11th in the conference. Summer Thorpe is slated to compete in the 60m hurdles and 4x400m relay. She currently holds the eighth best time in conference in the hurdles after her win at the SPIRE D1-Invitational.
Matthew Birzer looks to make his mark in the high jump this weekend and keep his winning streak going. Heading into the meet, he has won the high jump in all five meets in 2018. Birzer has the third best mark in the conference after clearing 2.19m at the Meyo Invitational.
Graduate student Indi Jackson (15.81m) and sophomore Abbey Kapitan (14.86m) both bring top-10 marks in the shot put into the weekend. On the men's side, fellow sophomore Logan Kusky holds the fourth-best mark in the weight throw after his toss at the ND Invite.
A portion of the meet on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. Dan O'Brien and Shawn Kenney will be on the call with Hanna Yates reporting from the sideline.
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.