Abbey Kapitan

Blue and Gold Invitational Shows Early Promise For Notre Dame Track and Field

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame’s track and field teams opened their 2018-19 indoor season with the annual Blue and Gold Invitational Friday night at the Loftus Sports Center. The Irish looked strong in their first time out, taking first in 16 events and finishing in the top-five on 43 separate occasions.

Abbey Kapitan highlighted the night with her record breaking performance in the women’s weight throw, shattering the previous school record of 19.6m when she threw for 19.91m.

“For Abbey Kapitan to break the school record in the 1st meet of the year is a real testament to her commitment to a great summer and fall of training,” head coach Matt Sparks said.

Jernaya Sharp and Kyla Lewis both led the Irish with two first-place finishes each. On the track, Lewis took the top spot in the 60m dash in 7.65 seconds before crossing the line of the 200m dash in 25.74. Sharp took first in the 60m hurdles after finishing second in the preliminary race, crossing the line in 8.59 seconds. She also claimed the top place in the women’s long jump, recording a night-best of 5.43m to start the season.

The men’s long jump kicked off the evening meet as Conner Artman took first overall with a jump of 6.92m while Antoni Villegas recorded a fourth place jump of 6.57m. The freshman Colton Crum led the pole vault side of the jumps competition tonight, finishing first as he cleared 5 meters.  

The throws began with Kapitan’s record weight throw of 19.91m before Logan Kusky took first for the men. Rachel Tanczos finished second in the women’s event, throwing for 19.25m while Shae Watkins placed in the top-five men (fourth) with a distance of 15.46m. Watkins then led the Irish in the men’s shot put, putting up a team-best performance of 15.75m for second overall with Kusky finishing right behind with 14.87m. Kapitan claimed the top spot in the women’s competition, throwing the shot put 15.38m while Tanczos came in second with 15.13m.

“We knew Abbey was going to throw well, we just weren’t sure how well she’d perform in the first meet out,” assistant coach Adam Beltran said. “It was very exciting to see her hard work pay off and get that school record. I am looking forward to what the rest of the season will bring to her and the rest of the throws team.”

When competing, the women went undefeated in the individual races, taking first place in all six events in which a member of the team ran. The streak began with Jernaya Sharpe in the 60m hurdles, who crossed the finish line in 8.59 seconds. Kyla Lewis, running the same distance, finished first in the 60m dash, recording a time of 7.65.

The next two women’s races included members of the distance and middle distance squads, with Mikayla Schneider finishing first in the mile, completing the run in 4:52.90. Laura Devito followed up with her own first place finish in the 800m, crossing the line in 2:17.78.

Kyla Lewis rounded out the sprinting portion of the evening, taking first in the 200m dash with a time of 25.74 before the women swept the 3,000m, taking the top-four spots. MaryClare Leonard led that group, completing the 3K race in 10:16.69 before Katie Rose Blachowicz took second in 10:20.69. All underclassmen topped the event, as sophomore Brooke Trossen finished third followed by freshman Madelyn VanBlunk in fourth.

The men’s team found great success this evening as well, taking first place in four of their events including three distance/middle distance top finishes. Matthew Vietzen, in his first race with the Irish, took first in the mile with a time of 4:23.87.

Notre Dame went first through fourth in the 800m run as Samuel Voelz, a transfer from Depauw led the Irish with a time of 1:52.80. He was followed by Parker Jones (1:53.33), Matt Fraizer (1:53.64) and Clayton Goldman (1:56.09).

“On the men’s side, we had several freshmen assert themselves,” Sparks added. “Connor Artman, Colton Crum, Dylan Jacobs and Samuel Voelz all competed like seasons veterans in claim wins.”

The final men’s sprint, the 200m dash, saw Zachary Zajdel take the top spot, crossing in 22.10 seconds before Dylan Jacobs won the men’s 3,000m as the final individual race of the night.

The annual event concluded with the men’s 4×400 meter relay where Edward Cheatham, Luis Cossio, Patrick O’Mara and Samuel Voelz came together to finish second with a time of 3:18.76.

“I am really proud of the way everyone competed tonight,” Sparks concluded. “There was a lot of positive energy coming from all of our event groups.”

The team will return to action in January as they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana for the Gene Edmonds Open January 12th.

Top-5 Finishes
Men’s Long Jump
1st — Conner Artman, 6.92m
4th — Antoni Villegas, 6.57m

Women’s Long Jump
1st — Jernaya Sharp, 5.43m

Women’s High Jump
3rd — Emma Bzik

Men’s Triple Jump
4th — Osy Ekwueme, 12.73m

Men’s Pole Vault
1st — Colton Crum, 5m

Women’s Pole Vault
2nd — McKenna Caskey, 3.50m

Men’s Weight Throw
1st — Logan Kusky, 19.30m
4th — Shae Watkins, 15.46m

Women’s Weight Throw
1st — Abbey Kapitan, 19.91m **
2nd — Rachel Tanczos, 19.25m

Men’s Shot Put
2nd — Shae Watkins, 15.75m
3rd — Logan Kusky, 14.87m

Women’s Shot Put
1st — Abbey Kapitan, 15.38m
2nd — Rachel Tanczos, 15.13m

Women’s 60m Hurdles
1st — Jernaya Sharp, 8.59
2nd — Grace Cronin, 8.88

Women’s 60m Dash
1st — Kyla Lewis, 7.65

Men’s 60m Dash
3rd — Zachary Zajdel, 6.99

Women’s Mile
1st — Mikayla Schneider, 4:52.90
2nd — Elizabeth Hannon, 5:08.41
3rd — Olivia Niziolek, 5:10.12
4th — Madison Ronzone, 5:14.21

Men’s Mile
1st — Matthew Vietzen, 4:23.87

Men’s 400m
2nd — Patrick O’Mara, 49.13
3rd — Edward Cheatham, 49.14

Women’s 800m
1st — Laura DeVito, 2:17.78
2nd — Emily Franz, 2:22.01

Men’s 800m
1st — Samuel Voelz, 1:52.80
2nd — Parker Jones, 1:53.33
3rd — Matt Fraizer, 1:53.64
4th — Clayton Goldman, 1:56.09

Women’s 200m
1st — Kyla Lewis, 25.74

Men’s 200m
1st — Zachary Zajdel, 22.10

Women’s 3,000m
1st — MaryClare Leonard, 10:16.69
2nd — Katie Rose Blachowicz, 10:20.69
3rd — Brooke Trossen, 10:21.24
4th — Madelyn VanBlunk, 10:23.28

Men’s 3,000m
1st — Dylan Jacobs, 8:11.57
3rd — Matthew Carmondy, 8:22.84
4th — Brendan Fraser, 8:25.67
5th — Amani Morrell, 8:27.23

Men’s 4x400m Relay
2nd — Cheatham, Cossio, O’Mara and Voelz, 3:18.76

** indicates school record–ND–