March 10, 2012
NAMPA, Idaho – Notre Dame senior Maddie Buttinger closed out her indoor year in style, as she smashed the school record in the pentathlon on her way to a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Nampa, Idaho on Saturday afternoon.
The finish was the highest ever for an Irish student-athlete in the pentathlon and tied the highest finish for any Notre Dame women’s indoor track and field with distance runner Molly Huddle’s third-place finish in the 5,000m in 2004.
Buttinger broke the school record of 4,069 points that was held by Alyissa Hasan and set in 2008 and finished just 30 points behind runner-up Dorcas Akinniyi from Wisconsin. Oregon senior Brianne Theisen blew past the field, scoring 4,536 points, which broke the facility record and was just 19 points from tying her own NCAA record.
When Buttinger is named an All-American this week by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), she will become the first Irish female to earn All-America accolades since Jessica Rydberg (10,000m) in 2010.
The Waterloo, Ontario native didn’t have a good start to the day, finishing 15th out of 16 in the 60m hurdles (8.99). However, she powered back to earn top-three finishes in the remaining events, including a victory in the long jump with a leap of 6.02m (19-9.00 ft). After finishing tied for the third in the high jump (1.75m, 5-8.75 ft), Buttinger took third in the shot put (13.05m, 42-9.75 ft). She next won the long jump, and secured her bronze medal with a third place finish in the 800m run (2:17.79). She set personal records in the hurdles, long jump and shot put and improved 261 points from her BIG EAST runner-up finish.
With Buttinger’s performance, the Notre Dame track and field program closes out the NCAA Indoor Championships with six All-Americans and three top-four finishes, including the men’s DMR team that won the national championship on Friday night. The men finished with 15 points, good for 12th place. Buttinger’s six points put the Irish in a tie for 38th place.
“Maddie had a truly spectacular day today, setting three PRs,” said head coach Joe Piane. “To improve over 260 points from the BIG EAST meet was awesome. Leaving with six All-Americans is great for our program.”
The Irish will now turn their attention to the outdoor season, which begins in two weeks at the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the Victor Lopez Invitational in Houston, Texas.