March 25, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- The University of Notre Dame track and field teams will be starting of the outdoor season with two meets this weekend—the Texas Relays in Austin and the Victor Lopez Invitational in Houston, Texas.
Head coach Joe Piane says the Texas Relays is an especially good opening meet for the team’s sprinters.
“There will be some of the best sprints in the country there,” he says. “You’re looking at a meet for quarter-mile on down, there’s nothing better.”
Eighteen athletes will be competing in the Texas Relays with another 27 traveling to the Victor Lopez Invitational. Considering that South Bend has been experiencing some early spring snowfall today, the Irish are looking forward to heading south for a warmer atmosphere.
“During the outdoor season, we chase weather,” Piane explains. “We have one group going to Austin, one group going to Houston, and then we have another group next week going to California. So we’re clearly chasing weather. And then we go to Louisville, which is five hours south, so we’ll get warm weather there.”
Thus far, the team has only been able to practice on the indoor facility this season. This weekend marks the first time Notre Dame will get onto an outdoor track.
Piane says a major difference between the indoor and outdoor season—besides the obvious venue change—comes from the difference in events. The distance medley relay is not an event that takes place during the outdoor season, which takes away a strong component of the Irish team, as both the men’s and women’s DMR teams placed at the ACC and NCAA Indoor Championships.
“But we’re going to gain kids in outdoors,” Piane adds. “We’re going to gain some hammer throwers and some discus throwers, which don’t exist indoors. We lose some events and we gain some, so we’re probably the same.”
During the indoor season, Notre Dame’s men and women both placed third at the ACC Championship. Piane says that the teams are looking to make a similar splash during the outdoor season.
“We would love to improve on the ACCs and get at least the same number of kids to the national championship,” he says. “We had 13 there at indoors, so hopefully we can get that same number or more to the outdoors.”
Both meets will get started tomorrow and continue through Saturday.
Texas Relays Athletes
Victor Lopez Invitational Athletes
Carson Barnes, Steve Blazer, Jacob Dumford, Aaron Dunn, Eddy Gibbons, Alex Groesch, Nick Hauser, Grant Koch, Peter Kristiansen, Pat Lesiewicz, Chris Quinn, Spencer Rheinhardt, Nate Richartz, John Rutkowski, Walter Schafer, David Schipper, Conner Stapleton, Jordan Stumph, DJ Thornton, Adam Turner
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant