The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams began their seasons Friday, Dec. 4 by hosting the Blue & Gold Invitational at Loftus Sports Center. The Irish put together a strong performance, winning 14 total events. Nine of these performances qualified Irish athletes for the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championships.
On the women’s side, sophomore Jessica Harris won the mile with a personal best time of 4:54.97. Senior Lena Madison won the weight throw, while sophomore Jordan Shead took the crown in the 400-meter dash.
The Irish also received winning performances from sophomore Alexis Daugherty in the 800-meter run, junior Taylor Craft in the 60-meter hurdles and sophomore Ashlyn Rambo in the 3,000-meter race. A team of four athletes, led by Shead, won the 4x400-meter relay.
While head coach Alan Turner was proud of his teams, he saw room for improvement before the team’s next meet on Jan. 16 in Wisconsin.
“It’s a long season and a long process, so I’m not pushing the panic button now for them to get it together,” he says.
The men’s team also won seven events. Junior Nate Richartz won the men’s pole vault, junior Anthony Shivers triumphed in the weight throw and sophomore Eric Ways beat his teammate Alex Groesch by one hundredth of a second in the 400-meter dash (48.20).
The men’s high jump team dominated, taking the first (Hunter Holton) through fourth spots in the competition. They also logged victories in the 200-meter dash (Harvey Smith), 800-meter run (Patrick O’Connell) and 4x400-meter relay race.
It was an encouraging start for the program in its only meet of the fall semester. The Irish have a full season ahead of them, highlighted by the ACC Indoor Championships in late February and the NCAA Indoor Championships at the beginning of March.