March 5, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field programs earned two regional honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
Associate head coach Alan Turner was selected as the men’s assistant coach of the year and Jade Barber was named the women’s track athlete of the year for the Great Lakes region.
Turner, currently in his third season with the Fighting Irish, primarily works with athletes participating in the sprint and hurdles events. Under his direction in both event groups, the Irish scored 45 points out of the team’s 105.5 points at the indoor BIG EAST Championships and posted a respective runner-up finish.
Turner helped groom Patrick Feeney to back-to-back-to-back 400m championships, played a key role in Ted Glasnow’s first-place finish in the heptathlon and was a main component for the 4x400m relay team’s second-place finish at the conference meet. Five of the male athletes he coached were additionally named to the all-BIG EAST team.
Most recently, Turner helped Chris Giesting set a new school record (46.05) at the Alex Wilson Invitational last weekend inside the Loftus Sports Center. For Giesting’s record-setting performance last weekend at the home meet, he vaults up to No. 6 in the 400m on the Track & Field Results Reporting System’s (TFRRS) NCAA Indoor Qualifying List. Feeney additionally makes a presence on the list in the 400m at No 9. Feeney has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the country on the list over the course of the season.
“I give the credit to the athletes I coach for this honor,” said Turner. “ I see the talent these kids have, they show up ready to work every day, they are confident and they simply make me look good. We are doing a lot of things right. The athletes believe in what I am teaching them and they are going out there and performing well with the advice I give them. They make my job a lot of fun.”
“I was nominated last year and that alone is an honor,” said Turner. “To get this award it’s not from just one athlete it’s from a lot of athletes that are doing well. Me getting this award is because of their labor. I just play a small part in their success. I give them a little direction here and a nudge there. If they are tough kids and competitors, the rest kind of takes care of its self. I am very proud of my kids.”
Barber has been a solid contributor to Notre Dame all season long. The sophomore was selected as the most outstanding track performer at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship meet after racking up all-BIG EAST honors in three events. Baber was crowned an event champion in the 60mH and the 4x400m relay at the conference meet.
She joined Giesting last weekend at the Alex Wilson invitational in setting a new school and meet record in the 60mH with a time of 8.13. The new record placed her No. 4 on the TFRRS list. Barber additionally took a part in setting the new school record in the 4x400m relay (3:34.67), a record that had stood since 2003.
“Just like Pat (Feeney), Chris (Giesting) and the rest of my athletes, Jade had been a privilege to work with,” said Turner. “It’s encouraging because she is still learning and her maturity as a hurdler is finally coming together for her. She is still developing and there will be a lot more to see from her and what she has already accomplished. Jade works as hard as any athlete I have ever worked with at any level or institution. I wouldn’t be surprised if she finished in the top eight at the NCAA’s and becomes an All-American. She doesn’t fear anyone, she doesn’t even know who the top people are. When it’s time to run she just runs.”
The NCAA Indoor Championships get underway this Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., and run through Saturday. Follow UND.com for complete results.