Senior Jade Barber

Irish Women Set Sights High At ACC Outdoor Championships

May 13, 2015

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s track & field program has certainly made its presence felt during its first two seasons of membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In their three conference championship appearances (two indoor, one outdoor), the No. 23 Fighting Irish women have placed either second or third, proving their worth in one of the nation’s premier track conferences. But as they prepare for their fourth this weekend at the ACC Outdoor Championships at the Mike Long Track at Florida State University, the expectations have been set even higher.

“We have a shot to win it, we really do,” head coach Alan Turner said, “but we can’t have too many mistakes. … For the most part, the women’s team is healthy and ready to go. It’s going to be pretty exciting on the women’s side.”

Since finishing third at this year’s ACC Indoor Championships, the Irish women saw the return of All-Americans Kaila Barber and Carly Loeffel, and Turner expects both to be major contributors at the the outdoor championships. Barber ranks fifth on the conference performance lists in the 400-meter hurdles and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles, and also makes up a quarter of the third-ranked 4×100-meter relay squad. Loeffel sits at fourth on the list in the heptathlon and will also be competing in the high jump.

“Having two [more] girls who [have been] national qualifiers automatically changes the dynamic of your team and we’re expecting big points out of those two,” Turner said. “The other thing [that makes us better] is the relays. We’re a stronger team in the 4×100 outdoor than we were in the distance medley relay indoors. Both my women’s relays, we expect them to definitely [compete well] and I think both of them can win it. … A few different events and having those two [Barber and Loeffel] back makes us a much stronger team.”

Turner also expects top performances from the rest of his elite cohort that performed well during the indoor season, including Jade Barber, Margaret Bamgbose, Danielle Aragon and Molly Seidel. Barber put her slumping indoor campaign behind her immediately once moving outdoors, setting an Irish record in the 100-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays (12.81), with that mark still pacing the conference. Bamgbose will compete in the 400 meters (third in ACC), the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay (second in ACC), while Aragon and Seidel will pace the Irish mid-distance and distance groups.

Finally, Turner will look for continued strong performances from athletes like Amber Lalla (spints/relays), Emily Morris (shot put) and Lena Madison (hammer throw/discus), who have competed well throughout the spring and have the potential to tip the scales in Notre Dame’s favor at the championships.

“Those role players as I call them, they really have to step up and do the job,” Turner said. “If we do that, and if Clemson has a slip-up here [and there] — and I’ve seen some cracks in the armor here in the past four or five weeks — we can win this thing.”

Five women’s teams rank among the nation’s Top 25, led by No. 15 Florida State, with No. 17 Clemson, No. 21 Virginia Tech and No. 24 North Carolina joining the 23rd-ranked Irish.

A lack of depth, coupled with a spate of injuries will leave the Fighting Irish men in a much different position than their women counterparts. Turner reckoned it was the most-injured team he has been associated with at any level, leaving few point-scoring options for the Irish. The first-year Irish head coach will expect to see the most production from senior Chris Giesting, who ranks first in the conference in the 400 meters, and junior Michael Clevenger, who sits at seventh place on the 5,000 meter list and 10th on the 1,500 meter list. Giesting will also compete in the 200 meters.

Competition begins Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT with the men’s hammer throw. Other Thursday highlights include the first four stages of the women’s heptathlon and men’s decathlon, and other field events, including the men’s and women’s long jump competition and women’s hammer throw. The women’s 10,000-meter finals are set for 8:10 p.m. EDT, followed by the men’s 10,000 meters at 8:55 p.m. EDT.

A full slate of events and preliminaries continues Friday and Saturday, with finals in most of the running events wrapping up the Championship Saturday evening.

ESPN3 will stream live coverage each evening at the links provided at the top of the page, while live results will be available throughout the event on the championship website.

To keep up with all things Irish track & field, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter and like Notre Dame Cross Country/Track & Field on Facebook.

ACC Performance List
Notre Dame Athletes
200 meters
7. Parker English, 23.71
400 meters
3. Margaret Bamgbose, 51.97
9. Amber Lalla, 53.56
1,500 meters
3. Daniella Aragon, 4:13.4
9. Molly Seidel, 4:18.9
5,000 meters
3. Molly Seidel, 15:52.4
100-meter hurdles
1. Jade Barber, 12.81
6. Kaila Barber, 13.48
400-meter hurdles
5. Kaila Barber, 58.55
3,000-meter steeplechase
8. Sydni Meunier, 10:20.3
4×100-meter relay
3. Notre Dame, 44.81
4×400-meter relay
2. Notre Dame, 3:33.2
Long Jump
9. Emily Carson, 6.00m
Triple Jump
6. Mary Esther Gourdin, 12.54m
Shot Put
5. Emily Morris, 15.40m
4. Carly Loeffel, 5396 points
400 meters
1. Chris Giesting, 45.93
1,500 meters
10. Michael Clevenger, 3:43.9
5,000 meters
7. Michael Clevenger, 13:56.2
10,000 meters
7. Jake Kildoo, 29:18.3
4×100-meter relay
6. Notre Dame, 41.21
4×400-meter relay
3. Notre Dame, 3:07.5
Pole Vault
5. Nathan Richartz, 5.10m
Long Jump
T-9. Keith Mesidor, 7.29m
9. Dominick Padovano, 54.42m
7. Greg Bombara 64.65m
5. Brent Swanberg, 6737 points

All-ACC Honors
Individual Events:
Places 1-2-3 are first team
Places 4-5-6 are second team
Relay Events:
First place is first team
Places 2-3 are second team

Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant