March 1, 2014
CLEMSON, S.C. — When talking to Notre Dame head track and field coach Joe Piane, the first thing he’ll say about the ACC Indoor Championships is, “We made a mark.” Both the men’s and women’s teams came away from this, their first ever Indoor Championships, with third-place finishes.
After the teams had loaded onto the bus after the final events this afternoon, Piane turned around to speak with his athletes.
“You competed exceptionally well,” he told them. “We had some wonderful performances. People really came and competed. Everyone in that building knows that Notre Dame is part of this conference. We made a mark this weekend. You guys did a great job. Could we do better? Absolutely. Absolutely, we could do better. And maybe we will in seven weeks. So I’m really proud of the fact that I’m proud of your group.”
The women finished in third with 65 points behind Florida State (96.5) and Duke (83). The 4x400m relay team of Michelle Brown, Amber Lalla, Megan Yanik and Margaret Bamgbose finished in second during that final event of the day, holding off Miami, who finished in fourth place just three points behind the Irish.
“Our women really did compete well,” Piane said. “That performance was vital.”
Elsewhere on the women’s side, Jade Barber raced to a gold medal finish in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.19. Kelly Curran placed third in the finals of the mile with a time of 4:43.39. Both Curran and Barber won all-ACC honors with their performances. The Notre Dame women had athletes competing in the finals of every running event, racking up 43 points over the course of these events.
The results of the men’s championship came down to the final event of the day–the 4x400m relay. Florida State held just a six-point lead over the Notre Dame, which held a three-point edge on North Carolina. The three teams’ squads in the event were all ranked among the top 15 in the nation, and the results of the entire championship rested on the outcome of the race.
In a heartbreaking turn of events for the Irish, Jarrod Buchanon dropped the baton while in the lead of the second leg of the race. This sealed Notre Dame’s position in third place (84 points), as both Florida State (96) and North Carolina (89) earned points in the relay.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Piane admitted. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Earlier in the day for the men, J.P. Malette placed second in both the mile (4:09.58) and the 3,000m (8:16.33) run today. Malette came out of the unseeded heat to get his second-place finish in the 3,000m. Nick Happe won the seeded heat of that race with a time of 8:20.04, finishing in fourth overall.
Chris Giesting had a banner day for the Irish as well. He and Patrick Feeney won first (46.43) and second (46.54) place in the men’s 400m dash, and then Giesting went on to win the silver in the 200m as well with a time of 21.31. At the end of the day, these performances earned Giesting the title of track MVP, as he had earned one gold medal and 18 points for his team.
“He had a marvelous day,” Piane said. “He beat one of the best quarter-milers in the country, Brycen Spratling, and then coming back and winning his heat in the 200, getting second overall and being voted athlete of the meet. There are some pretty good athletes in that meet, and he’s the best.”
There are just two weeks before the Irish travel to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. And, as Piane said, in just seven weeks, Notre Dame will be ready to make its mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference again, this time in the Outdoor Championships.
–Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant