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Harris Defends Title in Women's Mile to Close Out ACC Championships

Feb. 24, 2018

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By Matt Paras

CLEMSON, South Carolina –
The Notre Dame track and field team capped off the 2018 ACC Indoor Championships with a win in the women’s mile for the second-straight season.

Saturday’s Results

Competing in her last indoor championships, senior Jessica Harris came into the final day looking to defend her title and repeat in the women’s mile. For the first half of the race, Harris was camped out in the lead-pack staying patient behind BC’s Paige Duca, who held the early lead. With three laps remaining, Harris made her move past Duca and separated herself from the field. Down the stretch, Clemson’s Grace Barnett made a final push but Harris built enough of a lead to finish first and win her second ACC Indoor Mile Championship (4:38.58).

“After her win last year Jess had the eyes on the conference on her,” said associate head coach Matt Sparks. “She handled herself with composure as she was the favorite coming into the weekend and was able to squeak out the win.”

In the men’s mile final, Jacob Dumford and Yared Nuguse looked to claim an ACC tile of their own. Dumford and Nuguse both stayed in the middle of the pack for a majority of the race until the final lap when Dumford made a strong push. He passed Virginia’s Mike Marsella on the final straightaway to claim a bronze medal (4:04.47). Nuguse finished fifth in the event to earn second team All-ACC honors (4:05.29).

“Dumford had his highest finish in the mile (3rd) for his last indoor season and Nuguse finished fifth as a freshman,” said assistant coach Sean Carlson. “Those two had a great meet racing three times in three days. They both got the job done this weekend scoring 18 points between them!”

Summer Thorpe started the afternoon off on the track for the Irish in the 60m hurdles final. Racing against a strong field, Thorpe’s final lunge at the finish line claimed her fourth place. She recorded a time of 8.314 and earned second team All-ACC honors.

Troy Pride Jr. represented the Irish in the 60m dash final after recording a personal-best time in the prelims. Going up against the fastest sprinters in the conference, Pride Jr. ran a 6.78 to finish sixth and claim second team All-ACC honors in his second indoor championships. Last year, he qualified for the finals and finished eighth.

Junior Kelly Hart was back in the 800m final for the second-straight indoor championships. Last season Hart finished sixth overall and she one-upped that performance Saturday afternoon at Clemson. Hart made a late push on the final straightaway to finish fifth, earing second team All-ACC honors with a personal-best time of 2:06.49.

“Kelly has an appropriate sense of her fitness and her competition and as a result is a very savvy racer,” said Sparks. “She is definitely someone we can count on at championship time.”

In the Infield

The Irish had a trio of women compete in the shot put Saturday morning. Indi Jackson, Abbey Kapitan and Rachel Tanczos all fared well in the event and finished in the top-10. Jackson (14.93m) paced the Irish, finishing seventh overall. Kapitan (14.16m) and Tanczos (13.96m) finished ninth and tenth, respectively.

On the men’s side in the shot put, Shae Watkins led the way for the Irish. He picked up his second career-best mark of the weekend with his fifth toss of 16.09m (52-09.50) to finish eighth overall.

Final Standings

The Notre Dame men’s team finishes the championships in ninth place with 35 points. The women’s team finised 10th overall with 31 points.

Coming Up Next

Notre Dame returns to action at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 9-10 at Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Stadium (College Station, Texas).

Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track & field programs. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.