Chris Giesting is one of eight former Notre Dame track & field athletes competing in Olympic Trials events in early July

Eight Track Athletes With ND Ties On To Olympic Trials

June 30, 2016

by Tony Jones



NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A total of eight past University of Notre Dame track & field standouts look to take the next step in international competition with upcoming Olympic Trials events hosted by both the United States and Nigeria.

Jade Barber (100m hurdles), Kaila Barber (400m hurdles), Chris Giesting (400m dash), Patrick Feeney (400m dash), Rebecca Tracy (1500m run), Molly Huddle (5,000m run and 10,000m run) and Mary Saxer (pole vault) will each vie for the opportunity to represent Team USA in Rio later this summer at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials. The U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials will be held July 1-10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, at the annual site of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Margaret Bamgbose (sprints) will also take part in national team trials for Nigeria from July 7-9 in Sapele, Delta State.

Huddle looks to return to the Olympics for the second time in her career after placing 11th in the final of the 5,000m run in London in 2012. Huddle has claimed two USATF Outdoor 5,000m Championships (2011 and 2014), taking runner-up honors at the national outdoor meet in 2010, 2012 and 2013, and earned her first 10,000m crown in 2015. Since her first Olympic appearance, Huddle became the American Record holder in the 5,000m with a personal-best time of 14:44.76 on July 15, 2014.

Huddle remains one of the most decorated athletes in Notre Dame program history, earning 10 combined All-America scrolls (three cross country, seven track) with the Irish from 2003-07. She was a two-time bronze medalist at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, taking third place in the 5,000m in 2004 (16:25.44) and 2007 (15:37.65), and won six BIG EAST Conference championships that four titles in five years (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007) in the 5,000m.

Saxer is in search of her first official Olympics trip in Rio after serving as a U.S. alternate in the pole vault for the London Games in 2012. She took home gold at the 2014 USATF Indoor Championships by clearing 4.71m (15-5.5) for a career-best mark. The runner-up at the 2012 U.S. Indoor meet (4.62m/15-1.75), Saxer has twice finished as the bronze medalist at the USATF Outdoor Championships (2010 and 2013).

While at Notre Dame, Saxer brought home the 2008 and 2009 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships pole vault titles, adding a winning performance at the 2009 BIG EAST Indoor Championships. She secured a pair of All-America scrolls with top 10 finishes at the NCAA Indoor (ninth place) and Outdoor (third place) Championships in 2009.

Jade Barber will try to qualify for Team USA for the first time one year removed from closing a Notre Dame career that featured nine All-America scrolls. Barber was the 2014 and 2015 ACC 100m hurdlers champion at the outdoor conference meet, adding a 2014 outdoor 4x400m relay and 60m hurdles title to her ledger. Barber was selected as the 2013 BIG EAST Championships Co-Most Outstanding Track Performer with wins in the 60m hurdles, 100m hurdles, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay events. She remains a Notre Dame record holder in the indoor 4x400m relay (3:34.67) and outdoor 100m hurdles (12.70).

Kaila Barber completed her Irish tenure earlier in June at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning a first team All-America scroll in the 400m hurdles. Barber swept the 100m and 400m hurdles finals at the 2016 ACC Outdoor Championships to secure her first individual conference championships. Barber owns the fastest Notre Dame mark in the indoor 60m hurdles (8.05) and outdoor 400m hurdles (55.53), both set during the 2016 season. A gold medalist with the 4x100m relay at the 2012 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships as a freshman, Barber also placed third in the 400m hurdles at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships.

Giesting recently ran with the victorious USA Blue squad during the USA vs. the World Men’s 4×400 event at the Penn Relays in April, along with the gold medal U.S. 4×400 at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March. Giesting completed his Notre Dame career in 2015 with a men’s program record 11 All-America citations, including four first team nods. Giesting was the 2014 ACC Indoor Championships Most Valuable Track Performer following a gold medal run in the 400m dash, and swept the most valuable athlete honors at the 2012 and 2013 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships with a pair of 400m titles. Giesting picked up his first All-America scroll with the Notre Dame distance medley relay entry that finished the season as the 2012 NCAA champion. He remains the Notre Dame record holder in the 200 (21.02), 400 (45.74), 500 (1:00.58) and 600m (1:16.70) indoor events, also holding the program’s top men’s 400m (45.53) outdoor time.

Feeney narrowly finished behind former Irish relay teammate Giesting on the silver medal USA Red entry in the USA vs. the World Men’s 4×400 relay at the Penn Relays. Feeney equaled Giesting as an 11-time All-American while at Notre Dame, which included fourth place NCAA Championship finishes in the DMR in 2011 and the indoor 400m in 2013. Feeney doubled as the BIG EAST champion in the indoor 400m in 2011 and 2012, taking the conference’s outdoor crown in the distance in 2012 with a time of 47.27. Feeney still maintains Notre Dame program record times as part of the indoor 4x400m relay (3:07.58) and DMR (9:29.43) teams.

Tracy was a three-time track All-American at Notre Dame, taking 2012 second team honors after a 12th place NCAA Championships finish in the 1500m, and adding first team accolades in 2013 with a fourth place showing in the 1500m and eighth place result in the mile. Tracy was the 2011 (4:46.61) and 2013 (4:40.72) BIG EAST champion in the mile, and also claimed the 1500m title (4:22.71) at the 2012 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships. She was recognized for achievement on the track and in the classroom as a senior in 2013, earning CoSIDA Academic All-America® second team honors. Tracy’s time of 4:33.53 in the mile at the 2013 Alex Wilson Invitational remains the Notre Dame program standard.

Bamgbose capped her Notre Dame career with a standout performance at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, finishing fourth in the 400m dash (51.57) and as the anchor of the 4x400m relay (3:31.95) to secure a pair of first team All-America scrolls. Bamgbose set a women’s program record at Notre Dame with 11 career All-America performances, which included three straight first team nods in the 400m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Along with being a four-year NCAA Championships qualifier, Bamgbose was the 2015 ACC indoor 400m champion to go along with ACC outdoor relay crowns in 2014 and 2015 (4x400m), and 2013 BIG EAST 4×100 and 4x400m titles. She established the Notre Dame program record in the 400m dash (52.10) at the 2015 ACC Indoor Championships, and holds additional school bests in the 4x400m relay (3:34.67) and DMR (10:59.08) events. Bamgbose added outdoor 400m (51.11) and 4x400m relay (3:30.10) top Notre Dame times to her résumé.

Notre Dame At 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials (Eugene, Oregon)

Jade Barber (W 100m Hurdles)
First Round on July 7 at 8:02 p.m. (ET)
Semifinals on July 8 at 6:58 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 8 at 8:54 p.m. (ET)

Kaila Barber (W 400m Hurdles)
First Round on July 7 at 8:58 p.m. (ET)
Semifinals on July 8 at 7:31 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 10 at 7:03 p.m. (ET)

Patrick Feeney (M 400m Dash)
First Round on July 1 at 8:15 p.m. (ET)
Semifinals on July 2 at 4:46 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 3 at 7:48 p.m. (ET)

Chris Giesting (M 400m Dash)
First Round on July 1 at 8:15 p.m. (ET)
Semifinals on July 2 at 4:46 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 3 at 7:48 p.m. (ET)

Molly Huddle (W 5,000m Run)
First Round on July 7 at 7:20 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 10 at 7:28 p.m. (ET)

Molly Huddle (W 10,000m Run)
Final on July 2 at 2:04 p.m. (ET)

Mary Saxer (W Pole Vault)
Qualifying on July 8 at 6 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 10 at 5:30 p.m. (ET)

Rebecca Tracy (W 1500m Run)
First Round on July 7 at 9:26 p.m. (ET)
Semifinals on July 8 at 8:03 p.m. (ET)
Final on July 10 at 8 p.m. (ET)

Notre Dame At 2016 Nigeria Olympic Trials (Sapele, Delta State)

Margaret Bamgbose
Trials scheduled to run July 7-9


Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.