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Irish Sprint to Third Place at Illini Classic

Jan. 14, 2017

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By Megan Golden

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams each recorded third-place team finishes at the Illini Classic on Saturday.

The Irish recorded first place individually in three events, including the women’s shot put, the men’s 600m and the men’s 800m.

The Irish were particularly impressive in the men’s middle distance group. Seniors Jacob Dumford and Patrick O’Connell finished first in the 800m and 600m, respectively.

Notre Dame also performed well in the men’s sprints, a squad that has not typically been a strength of the Irish. Senior Alex Groesch (5th, 22.65), sophomore Zachary Zajdel (3rd, 22.49) and freshman Troy Pride Jr. (4th, 22.50) each competed in the 60m final.

“The first meet back from Christmas break is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you are going to get,” Irish head coach Alan Turner said. “Some of the Irish were looking great in top gear and others were stuck in first.”


Dumford raced to a first-place finish in the 800m, giving the Irish back-to-back victories in the 800m race in their first two meets of the season. Just over one month ago, O’Connell recorded first place in the race.

“The first meet after break is often a big question mark because you have to train alone for several weeks,” Dumford said. “But we had a lot of really solid openers meaning that training over winter break was successful. The mid-distance group was particularly successful taking wins in each heat we competed in, so we’re going to use today as a springboard for bigger performances in the coming weeks.”


Senior Indi Jackson finished first in the shot put (14.80m), marking her second individual victory in as many meets this season. Jackson previously won the shot put (15.05m) at the Blue & Gold Invitational last month.

HEAD COACH Alan Turner SAIDââ’¬¦

On his team’s overall performanceââ’¬¦
“The goal of the first meet back from a 6 week hiatus, is to get back at it and compete. The times and distances usually aren’t great, but I always expect a great effort. The fast times and big distances will come.”

On the men’s middle distance runnersââ’¬¦
“The men’s middle distance group showed great effort and have put in the work. Jacob Dumford and Patrick O’Connell are in good shape for mid-January.”

On the distance runners’ upcoming scheduleââ’¬¦
“Next week at the Notre Dame Invitational, we will enter more distance runners, several who had run cross country for us this fall. With three ACC foes and two solid Big Ten teams, the meet will be an early season challenge for us. Each event will have several All-Conference performers entered. It’s a great early season meet, which should be exciting.”


The Irish return to action at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 21, when they host the Notre Dame Invitational at Loftus Sports Center.


Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary’s College and former Irish women’s basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.