June 10, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. --- Twelve Irish track and field athletes will represent the University of Notre Dame among the most elite talent in the country this week as the teams travel to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Competing for the women are senior Michelle Brown, Megan Yanik and Alexa Aragon, juniors Emily Morris, Kaila Barber and Amber Lalla and sophomore Margaret Bamgbose. On the men's side, graduate student Nick Happe, seniors Patrick Feeney and Jarrod Buchanon, junior Chris Giesting and freshman Harvey Smith. All 12 student-athletes qualified for the championships two weeks ago in Jacksonville, Fla., at the NCAA East Preliminary Round.
"They've prepared well," says head coach Joe Piane. "We'll find out tomorrow. It will be a real good test for them. They've had two weeks, so any aches and pains have been solved."
Giesting, Feeney, Brown and Bamgbose are the four athletes who kick off competition tomorrow with the 400m dash. The men's race will begin at 5 p.m. and the women's at 5:15. Those four will also be competing in the men's or women's 4x400m relay on Thursday.
Wrapping up competition for the Irish tomorrow will be Aragon's 3,000m steeplechase semifinal race, which begins at 6:45 p.m.
This weekend is special for Notre Dame for an entirely different reason: it marks the last time Piane will act as head coach of the Fighting Irish. Piane will retire at the end of the season after serving as head coach for 39 years.
"It's amazing," Piane says of the past few weeks since he announced his upcoming retirement. "I didn't think it would be any big deal. It's bittersweet, as they say. I didn't think it would be hard, but it's been an emotional last couple weeks. I'm curious to see what that means for the next four days."
Results will be posted here on UND.com following the action, and fans can follow the Irish on Twitter for frequent updates.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant