Dec. 6, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame’s track and field teams open the 2012-13 indoor campaign Friday, as the men’s and women’s squads welcome in four teams for the Blue and Gold Invitational inside the Loftus Sports Center on the Meyo track.
Field events will get underway at 5 p.m. starting with the women's high jump and the men's pole vault. The track events will follow beginning at 6 p.m. with the women's and men's 60m hurdles.
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Battling the Irish this year will be BIG EAST foes Marquette and DePaul, Detroit and local Bethel College.
The Irish dominated last year’s home meet winning seven events and housing a runner within the top-three spots in 15 events.
Junior Kelley Curran won the 1,000-meter dash stopping the clock at 2:50.70 and junior Kelly Burke took a first-place finish in pole vault (3.70m). Junior McKinzie Schulz finished second in both the 1,000-meter dash (2:50.26) and the 800-meter dash (2:12.93).
Junior Patrick Feeney was the top-finisher in the 200-meter dash (21.68) and sophomore Chris Giesting won the 400-meter dash easily by three seconds with a time of 1:01.89. Seniors Jeremy Rae and J.P. Malette represented the Irish in the long-distance events as Rae won the 1,000-meter dash (2:23.45) and Malette took the top-spot in the 3,000-meters (8:21.69). Senior Brendan Dougherty, graduate Mitchell Lorenz, Feeney and Giesting won the 4x400m relay (3:12.61).
The program welcomes back a wave of talent that includes three first team USTFCCCA All-Americans. Graduate student Randall Babb, Giesting and Rae were crowned national champions (along with graduate Johnathan Shawel) in the distance medley relay last March at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Nampa, Idaho breaking the facility record with a time of 9:35.48. The victory marked the first indoor national title for Notre Dame in 40 years.
Joe Piane and his coaches were awarded their fifth BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year honor last season as the Irish picked up their fifth BIG EAST Indoor Championship.
The men’s squad has finished third or better since 1996 at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship.
Returnees Feeney (400 meters-46.97) and Rae (mile-4:05.48) led the charge for the Irish towards the trophy as the pair each was named BIG EAST champions in their respected event.
Sophomore George Atkinson III (200 meters-21.47), Babb (800 meters-1:53.42) and Giesting (500 meters-1:01.28) all return after placing third last season at the league meet. Giesting’s 500-meter effort marked the best time for the indoor event in program history.
Rae broke the four-minute mark in the mile at the Meyo Invitational last February crossing the line at 3:59.31, and was within two seconds of breaking the program record set in 2002 by Luke Watson.
Senior Nevada Sorenson, who won the 60-meter hurdles last season (8.36) at the BIG EAST Championship, returns for the Irish on the women’s side.
Curran, junior Alexa Aragon, Schulz and senior Rebecca Tracy all return after receiving all-BIG EAST accolades at last year’s league meet after they finished second in the 4x800 meter relay with a time of 8:39.24.
Tracy, Curran and Aragon additionally broke the program record (last set in 2004) in the distance medley relay last season at the Alex Wilson Invite with a time of 11:04.45
Tracy set the new standard once more last season for the Irish capturing the best time in program history in the 1,000 meters (2:48:18-Meyo Invitational).
The women’s team made vast improvement last season after placing second at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship. The finish improved the squad from an eight-place finish in 2011 and marked the first time since 2009 that the Irish has grabbed a top-five finish since 2009.
Notre Dame will carry 22 newcomers on the roster this season, 11 from each team.
Freshman standouts Michael Clevenger and Timothy Ball have already seen action this season with the cross country team. Clevenger gathered a personal best this fall at the Notre Dame Invitational with a 24:39 mark in the 8K and Ball ran a collegiate-best time of 24:44. Newcomers Kevin Durham (25:22), Josh O’Brien (26:11) and John Riely (26:53) all set personal best this fall for the Irish.
Sophomore transfer and DIII All-American Hannah Eckstein participated this fall for Notre Dame posting a personal best of 20:53 in the 6K at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
Following the Blue and Gold Invitational the Irish will travel to Allendale, Mich. to compete in the Grand Valley Invitational Jan. 11-12.
IRISH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD SEASON PREVIEW
High expectations surround the Notre Dame track and field program entering the 2012-13 season as each team looks to build on the success that they enjoyed in 2011-12, both in the BIG EAST and nationally.
The men’s squad won both conference crowns, while the women’s team showed marked improvement in league play, finishing fourth during the indoor season and second during the outdoor season.
Nationally the teams sent two individuals and a relay to the NCAA Indoor Championships, earning All-America honors in all three events, while 14 student-athletes competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with Rebecca Tracy earning second team All-America honors in the 1,500m run.
MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Coming off a BIG EAST sweep at both the indoor and outdoor championships in 2012, the Notre Dame men’s team is looking for a repeat in 2013. A load of talent returns for the Irish as nine of the 12 all-conference performers from the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships are back for the 2013 season. In addition, four competitors that competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships are back as are three of the four runners from the national championship distance medley relay team.
SPRINTS / HURDLES
Feeney, who is a three-time BIG EAST champion in the 400m (two indoor, one outdoor), won three all-BIG EAST scrolls last year and advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m and the 4x400m relay.
Giesting won a national championship with the distance medley relay team at the NCAA Indoor Championships and was named the BIG EAST’s Most Outstanding Track Performer after winning the 200 and 400m races at the conference’s outdoor championship. Giesting also ran with the 4x400m relay team at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Also returning for the Irish in the longer sprints is senior Brendan Dougherty, who earned all-BIG EAST honors in the 4x400m relay at the conference outdoor meet and ran with the relay team at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In the short sprints, brothers George Atkinson III and Josh Atkinson return to the track team after another successful season with the Irish football squad. Last year despite very little training, the duo scored points for Notre Dame at both the BIG EAST Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
George earned all-BIG EAST honors in the 200m dash at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships and advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Round in the 100m dash, while Josh qualified for the quarterfinals in the 100m dash at the NCAA East Preliminary Round.
Junior Jarrod Buchanon carries the hurdle baton for the Irish, having made the finals at both the BIG EAST Indoor (60m) and Outdoor (400m) Championships last season.
MIDDLE DISTANCE / DISTANCE
The Irish return a wealth of talent in the middle distance and distance events led by BIG EAST Champion and All-American Jeremy Rae. The Fort Erie, Ontario, native won the mile and the 1,500m run at BIG EAST last year and also ran a leg of the national championship DMR team.
Graduate student Randall Babb of the winning DMR team also returns after earning all-BIG EAST honors in the 800m run and in the 4x800m relay at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships.
During the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships Babb took seventh in the 800m run before earning a BIG EAST crown as part of the winning 4x800m relay team.
J.P. Malette, who finished fourth in the mile and 14th in the 3,000m run at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships, and Jack Favorite, who ran a leg of the BIG EAST champion 4x800m relay team, are two other valuable point scorers who return this season.
Other distance runners to keep an eye out for are Jake Kildoo, who finished 11th in the 10,000m run at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Patrick Lesiewicz, who took eighth at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships in the 5,000m run, proven veteran runners Johnny Fuller, Martin Grady, Jeff MacMillan and Walter Schafer and a trio of talented freshmen in Timothy Ball, Michael Clevenger and Kevin Durham.
The men’s relays return a large portion of their talented performers including three members of the national championship DMR team (Giesting, Babb, Rae).
For relay teams that competed at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships, three runners off the fifth place DMR team return (Kevin Byrne, Favorite and DJ Thornton), two members off the second place 4x800m relay team are back (Rae and Babb) and three members of the second place 4x400m relay team return (Dougherty, Feeney and Giesting).
For relay teams that competed during the outdoor BIG EAST meet, the 4x100m relay team that finished fourth brings back all four competitors (J. Atkinson, Feeney, Keith Mesidor and G. Atkinson III), the 4x400m relay team that took fifth returns three (Dougherty, Feeney and Giesting) and the 4x800m relay team that won the title returns three (Babb, Favorite and Rae).
The 4x400m relay team that qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships also returns three performers (Dougherty, Feeney and Giesting).
A solid group returns in the jumps paced by BIG EAST outdoor triple jump champion Logan Renwick. Renwick, who jumped 15.27m to win the title last year, also finished seventh in the long jump to score points in two events for the Irish. During the indoor season Renwick took sixth in the triple jump and 11th in the long jump.
Mesidor returns after finishing sixth during the league indoor meet and fifth at the league outdoor meet in the long jump.
Following the graduation of older brother Kevin, who was a two-time All-American and six-time BIG EAST champion, younger brother David looks to carry on the Schipper pole vault legacy as he returns for his sophomore year. The younger Schipper finished eighth at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships to earn one point for the Irish.
The Irish return three scorers from the BIG EAST Indoor Championships in Anthony Thomas, Andrew Brock and Jordan Stumph. Stumph and Thomas finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the weight throw, while Brock took fourth in the shot put.
At the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships, Thomas and Brock both earned all-BIG EAST accolades. Thomas took third in the discus, while Brock claimed third in the shot put.
Finishing just on the border of scoring points in the discus was Dominick Padovano, who claimed 11th and was 11 ft. away from sixth place.
The Irish return three standouts in the heptathlon and the decathlon as Ted Glasnow, Peter Sullivan and Dean Odegard all are back after scoring points for the Irish at BIG EAST meets during the 2012 season.
During the indoor heptathlon, Glasnow earned all-BIG EAST honors after taking third in the seven-event competition. Odegard wasn’t far behind as he took fifth to score four points.
At the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships Glasnow finished fourth in the decathlon, while Sullivan placed sixth to also score points for the Irish. Odegard finished just out of the points, taking ninth.
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Coming off an impressive showing at the BIG EAST Indoor and Outdoor Championships last season, the women’s track and field team is poised to make a run at the title as five of the six all-BIG EAST performers from the indoor season and nine of the 10 all-BIG EAST standouts from the outdoor season are back in the Irish blue and gold this season.
Also back are six of the seven women that qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, including second team All-American Rebecca Tracy (1,500m).
SPRINTS / HURDLES
Hurdles might be the strength of the women’s squad as the group is loaded with talent.
Sisters Jade (100m) and Kaila Barber (400m) return for their sophomore campaign after earning all-conference honors at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships. Kaila had a busy season as she advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m hurdles, won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships in the 400m hurdles and broke the school record in the 60m hurdles.
Also returning is 2012 BIG EAST Indoor 60m hurdle champion Nevada Sorenson, who missed much of the outdoor season with injury, but rebounded to compete in the 100m hurdles at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
Junior Megan Yanik enters her third year with the Irish and is coming off an appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m hurdles after finishing fourth in the event at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
Joining the stable of hurdlers this season is freshman Margaret Bamgbose, who ran the third fastest time in the country in the 300m hurdles as a senior in high school and finished second at state in the 200m dash. Bamgbose is expected to help out the team in the 200 and 400m dashes, the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay.
In the sprints, the Irish will rely on juniors Aijah Urssery and Michelle Brown. Urssery is coming off a spring season where she was all-BIG EAST in the 100m dash and the 4x100m relay at the conference outdoor meet, while Brown picked up a pair of all-conference scrolls in both the 4x100 and 4x400m relay teams. Brown also competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with the 4x400m relay team.
MIDDLE DISTANCE / DISTANCE
A loaded middle distance and distance group returns on the women’s side, paced by Tracy. The senior won the 1,500m run at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships before going on to finish 12th in the event at the NCAAs. She also earned all-BIG EAST honors in the 4x800m relay at the BIG EAST Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Also returning in the middle distance events are juniors Alexa Aragon, Kelly Curran and McKinzie Schulz. Aragon and Curran both were a part of the 4x800m relay squads with Tracy and also scored in the mile, while Curran earned all-BIG EAST accolades in the 1,500m. Tracy, Aragon and Curran all qualified for the 1,500m run at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Schulz, meanwhile, finished eighth in the 3,000m steeplechase at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
Sophomore Emily Frydrych returns after a fifth place finish in the 1,000m run at the conference indoor meet.
Notre Dame expects freshman Molly Seidel to immediately help out in the mile, 3,000 and 5,000m runs after being named the Gatorade Girls Cross Country National Runner of the Year last year as a senior in high school.
A load of talent returns for the Irish in the relays as very few performers off the BIG EAST teams were lost to graduation.
For the indoor season, the DMR team returns three of the four performers (Tracy, J. Barber and Curran) that finished fourth at BIG EAST, the 4x800m relay team returns all four performers (Curran, Aragon, Schulz and Tracy) that finished second at BIG EAST and the 4x400m relay team that finished fifth returns three of the four performers (J. Barber, Brown and K. Barber).
For the outdoor season, the winning 4x100m relay squad returns all four performers (K. Barber, J. Barber, Brown and Urssery), the 4x400m relay team returns all four runners (J. Barber, Brown, Yanik and K. Barber) that finished third and the 4x800m relay team that took second brings back three of the four performers (Curran, Aragon and Tracy).
The 4x400m relay team that then advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships returns three of the four runners (J. Barber, Brown and Yanik).
Notre Dame has five pole vault performers with experience that are back for the Irish, highlighted by 2012 NCAA East Preliminary Round qualifier Kelly Burke. The junior scored points at both BIG EAST meets, finishing fourth at the indoor meet before tying for seventh at the outdoor meet.
In the long jump K. Barber paces the squad after finishing fourth at the BIG EAST indoor meet. Looking to help score points for the Irish is a group that includes Carly Loeffel, Lauren Leinart, Mary Esther Gourdin and Meghan Moore.
The triple jump has a trio of performers that are on the edge of breaking onto the BIG EAST scene in Gourdin, Burke and Jessie Christian. Gourdin took 10th last season at both the BIG EAST indoor and outdoor meets, while Christian and Burke took 15th and 16th, respectively, at the indoor meet. Burke also finished 11th in the event at the outdoor meet.
In the high jump Fiona Paladino, Loeffel and Kendra Jennings look to lead the way. Loeffel finished 11th at last season’s BIG EAST Outdoor Championships, while Jennings took 13th and Paladino 14th at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships.
The Irish return a pair of point scorers from a year ago in Madeline Casanova and Emily Morris. Casanova finished seventh in the discus last year and Morris took seventh in the shot put at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships. Casanova was also on the border of scoring points in both the weight toss (10th) and shot put (9th) at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships.
With the graduation of All-American Maddie Buttinger, the Irish have big shoes to fill in the pentathlon and the heptathlon, but the Irish expect Carly Loeffel and Meghan Moore to continue to show improvement.
During the indoor championships while Buttinger was on her way to another all-BIG EAST performance in the pentathlon, Loeffel quietly picked up a sixth-place finish to score three points for the Irish.
Later in the spring with Buttinger sidelined with injury during the heptathlon, Loeffel again finished sixth at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships while Moore took ninth, missing out on scoring for Notre Dame by just 10 points.
Four traditional home indoor meets highlight a 23-meet indoor and outdoor track and field schedule for the 2012-13 season.
The Meyo Track plays host to four meets during the indoor season including the Blue & Gold Invitational (Dec. 7), Notre Dame Invitational (Jan. 19), Meyo Invitational (Feb. 1-2) and Alex Wilson Invitational (March 1-2). The Meyo Invitational, including the famous Meyo Mile race, will be held for the 27th time.
The Blue & Gold Invitational is the lone meet in 2012, but the Irish open 2013 with three meets. Notre Dame opens the new year at Grand Valley State for the GVSU Holiday Open (Jan. 11-12). Following the Notre Dame Invitational (Jan. 19), the Irish head to Bloomington, Ind., for the Indiana Relays (Jan. 25-26).
The Meyo Invitational (Feb. 1-2) opens February and the GVSU Big Meet (Feb. 8-9) leads into the BIG EAST Indoor Championships (Feb. 16-17). The meet will be held in Geneva, Ohio at the 240,000-square-foot Spire Institute. Last year the Irish won the men’s title for the fifth time and took fourth in the women’s meet, a four-place jump from 2011.
The final two indoor meets of the season will be the Alex Wilson Invitational held at the Meyo Track (March 1-2) and the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 8-9), in Fayetteville, Ark. To qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships, student-athletes must meet a qualifying standard that is set for each event. Last year the men’s distance medley relay team won the national championship, while pole vaulter Kevin Schipper and pentathlete Maddie Buttinger earned All-America honors in their respective events.
The outdoor season gets underway in Houston, Texas at the Victor Lopez Invitational (March 22-23). The following weekend the Irish head to a pair of meets in the Stanford Invitational (March 29-30) in Palo Alto, Calif., and the Oliver Nikilof Open (March 29-30) in Cincinnati, Ohio, to close out the month of March.
April is a full month of meets with the Michigan State Invitational opening the month (April 5-6), followed by the Louisville Border Battle on April 13. The next weekend sees the Irish compete in two separate meets, the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., (April 18-19) and the Polytan Invitational in Bloomington, Ind., (April 18-21). The month closes out with the elite Drake Relays and the Hillsdale Gina Relays (April 26-27).
Rutgers will play host to the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships (May 4-6) in Piscataway, N.J. Last season the Irish men claimed their eighth team title, while the women finished second, an improvement of eight spots from the year before.
Following the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships, Notre Dame student-athletes will have one final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA East First Round, when they compete at the GVSU Last Chance Meet in Allendale, Mich., (May 10-11).
The NCAA East Preliminary Round will be held in Greensboro, N.C., (May 23-25) and will be hosted by North Carolina A&T. To qualify for the East Regionals, student-athletes must be in the top 40 in the East in their respective event.
Individuals that advance past the East Preliminary Round will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., (June 5-8). Last season 14 Notre Dame student-athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships, with Rebecca Tracy earning second team All-America honors in the 1,500m run.