Senior Dan Jackson

Irish Ready To Repeat As BIG EAST Champions

Dec. 2, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Consistency has been the hallmark of Notre Dame men’s track and field teams over the last several seasons. In 2009-10, the Irish claimed both the indoor and outdoor BIG EAST Conference championships, which was also the third straight year Notre Dame captured the league title of the outdoor variety.

While Notre Dame loses several key contributors from last season, a talented group of returnees and newcomers are set to lead the Irish in 2010-11. Irish head coach Joe Piane and his staff believe that the Irish have the potential and personnel to have another successful track season.

“I am anticipating that this will be another strong season for us,” says Piane, who is entering his 36th season with the Irish. “We have a number of returnees that will continue to produce for us, as well as newcomers who are capable of contributing during both the indoor and outdoor seasons.”

Dan Clark, Matt Schipper and Eric Quick – three of Notre Dame’s top performers last season – have each graduated.

Look for senior Daniel Jackson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Dexter) to be among the top performers during the indoor and outdoor seasons. Jackson has been one of Notre Dame’s top distance runners throughout his career and competed in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters.

Senior Jack Howard (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville), who earned an All-American honor in 800 meters at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, returns to lead the middle distance squad.

Sophomore Trent Sayers (Whitby, Ontario/Sinclair) and junior Randall Babb (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) both return after battling injuries during last season. Their renewed presence in the lineup will give the Irish solid depth in the middle distance running events.

Leading the short sprinters will be Miklos Szebeny (Telki, Hungary/Secondary School of Plarist Fathers) who is looking to be among Notre Dame’s top competitors in the sprint events

“We are hoping that Miklos begins the season competing in the way that we project him to,” assistant coach Amy Henry says. “We are going to look to him to contribute at every meet and to score for us during each of the two BIG EAST championships.”

Also returning to the sprints crew is junior Jordan Rincon (Las Vegas, Nev./Spring Valley). As a freshman, Rincon earned all-BIG EAST honors, finishing second in the 400 meters. Due to injuries in his second season he was unable to compete, but is expected back in the lineup this season.

Senior Denes Veres (Ellwood City, Pa./Riverside) once again looks to be Notre Dame’s top performer in the throwing events. Veres concluded last season by earning all-BIG EAST accolades in the shot put and hammer throw.

“Last year we were very strong in the hammer throw and had five different individuals score for us,” assistant coach Adam Beltran says. “We have every single one of them returning this season, and that will be a very good thing for us and will be one of strengths throughout the year.”

Justin Schneider (Atlanta, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) once again will look to continue his success as a multi-events specialist for Notre Dame. The senior has earned all-BIG EAST honors in the multi-events in each of three seasons with the Irish.

Kevin Schipper (Leo, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) returns to the Irish after earning All-American accolades in the pole vault. The junior set a personal best of 5.30 meters at the NCAA outdoor meet to earn the distinction.

Among the talented newcomers are middle distance competitors Walter Schafer (Centennial Colo./Cherry Creek) and Martin Grady (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick).

The sprint squad will add Pat Feeney (Indianapolis, Ind./New Palestine) to its 400- and 1,600-meter relay events. Bryce Wood (Phoenix, Ariz./Chandler) will be expected to contribute in the 100-meter hurdles, and Jarrod Buchanon (South Bend, Ind./Clay) will be the final key addition to the sprints crew. The South Bend product will compete in the 400-meter hurdles and the 4×400-meter relay.

Highlighting the 2010-11 track and field season are four indoor home meets and the BIG EAST Conference Championships. The Blue and Gold meet will commence the 2010-11 season Friday (Dec. 3) at the Loftus Sports Center in Notre Dame, Ind. In 2009, the men and women’s teams registered 48 qualifiers for the BIG EAST meet.

The Irish will return to the Loftus Sports Center for the Notre Dame Invitational on Jan. 22.

The 24th annual Meyo Invitational is scheduled for Feb. 4-5. The two-day meet welcomes some of the nation’s top track and field talent and features the Meyo Mile and Ryan Shay 3,000-meter run.

The 2010 Meyo Invitational featured Ohio State’s Jeff See in the marquee event, as he went 3:58.82 in what is always the fastest mile race during the regular season.

The final home event of the indoor season will be the Alex Wilson Invitational March 4-5. The meet carries the namesake of the former Notre Dame middle-distance track star and legendary coach.

The BIG EAST Conference Championships are always a welcomed showcase for the Irish. By winning both the men’s indoor and outdoor titles last season, Notre Dame continued its impressive string of top-three finishes in both of the meets. Since the program joined the BIG EAST in the 1995-96, the Irish men have not finished lower than third place in either of the two championships.

The men’s and women’s track and field team opens the 2010-11 indoor track season at the Blue and Gold Meet on Friday (Dec. 3) at 5:00 p.m. at the Loftus Sports Center in Notre Dame, Ind. The competitors in the meet include DePaul, Detroit Mercy, Marquette and Bethel College.

Check back to for a full recap and results of the meet.