May 15, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When all points were totaled, and events raced, the University of Notre Dame track and field teams had a fine weekend outing at the 2016 ACC Outdoor Championship, held at Mike Long Track on the campus of Florida State. The women’s team finished fifth overall, strongly aided by two-time champion Kaila Barber who swept both the 100m and 400m hurdles races.
“Our team scores don’t reflect it, but the student-athletes that we had compete this weekend had a great meet,” head coach Alan Turner said. “They all put up tremendous efforts. We ended up with five new school records, six other performances that were on the Notre Dame top five all-time list, and 18 personal records broken. The kids competed their tails off.”
Kaila Barber (center) won the women’s 100m and 400m hurdles events, and came in second with the 4x400m relay and third in the 4x100m relay.
Barber was the only Irish entrant in the 100m race, and crossed in 12.92. The time stands as her personal best in the event, but was mere hundredths of a second away from beating her sister Jade Barber’s school record time of 12.70. She was successful in breaking both her personal record and the school’s fastest time in the 400m race, crossing in 56.81 – .01 seconds faster than the previous school record time of 56.82. Jordan Shead also raced in the 400m event, coming in seventh (1:00.52).
“Kaila was just outstanding,” said Turner,” I knew she was the premier hurdler in the ACC. I spoke with her about winning both events, and that all she had to do was execute clean races. Well, she clobbered the second hurdle in the 100m, but maintained her composure and had to out-lean Perry from North Carolina State. Her time of 12.92 was a personal best, and the fourth-straight 100m hurdle victory for us (her twin sister Jade won the 2014 and ’15 ACC titles to go along with the 2013 BIG EAST title).
“Kaila started Sunday evening by running an excellent lead-off leg in the 4x100m relay,” Turner continued. “For the 400m hurdles, I told her just to win and not worry about the time since she still had the 4x400m relay afterwards. Well, she didn’t agree with me and ran not only a personal best, but a new Notre Dame record! She ended her day with a 52.39 split on the relay, whose time of 3:31.86 is the number-three time on our program’s all-time list.”
Margaret Bamgbose also had a strong third day for the Irish, coming in second in the 400m (51.11) and fourth in the 200m (23.44). Her 400 time breaks her own school record (51.37), ran at last year’s NCAA East Regional meet. Both times put her in prime contention for the 2016 NCAA regional, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. In the 800m, Jessica Harris crossed in 2:04.24, breaking her own school record, and earning second team All-ACC honors for her fourth place finish.
In the distance races, Alexa Pelletier and Ashlyn Rambo both ran in the women’s 5,000m, with Pelletier clocking in at 16:54.72 and Rambo, 17:21.71. Brent Kennedy ran in the men’s race, finishing in 14:51.83. Other men’s track finalists include Drake Stimson who earned second team All-ACC accolades for his sixth place finish in the 400m hurdles (52.57) and Alex Groesch who finished seventh in the 400m (47.95). Billy Dolan also placed 11th in the 1,500m (3:47.59).
(L-R) Kaila Barber, Margaret Bamgbose, Jordan Shead, Parker English; the second place 4x400m women’s relay team.
The women’s team cheered on two second team All-ACC relays, as the 4x100m team of Barber, Parker English, Kyla Lewis and Bamgbose crossed in third place with a time of 44.43. English, Barber, Shead and Bamgbose raced together in the 4x400m, taking second place (3:31.86). For the men’s side, Groesch, Stimson, Aaron Dunn and Conner Stapleton teamed up on the 4x100m team that finished in 45.70. Stimson, Dunn and Groesch joined Patrick O’Connell on the 4x400m relay, clocking in at 3:14.14.
In the last of the field events, several student-athletes had strong performances throughout the morning. Carly Loeffel jumped her way to seventh in the women’s high jump competition (1.72m), while Indi Jackson (42.92m, 13th), Lena Madison (40.60m, 14th) and Alexa Coubal (35.38m, 19th) all threw in the women’s discus. Taylor Craft was entered in the triple jump (11.50m), and Anthony Shivers finished fifth overall and earned second team All-ACC honors in the men’s discus (55.25m).
Overall, the women’s team placed fifth with 69 points, and the men’s team finished 11th, with 32 points. The Irish now look ahead to the NCAA East Regional, held in Jacksonville, Florida May 26-28. To keep up with the Irish, follow them on Twitter (@NDXCTF) or on Facebook.
— ND —
Lizzie Mikes serves as Media Services Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame. A 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, she oversees credential management and is the athletic communications director for Fighting Irish men’s and women’s swimming and diving and track and field. She has assisted with numerous NCAA postseason events hosted by Notre Dame, and is heavily involved in the day-to-day tasks of the athletic communications office.