Feb. 4, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind – The University of Notre Dame track and field program will serve as host of the 29th annual Meyo Invitational this Friday and Saturday at Loftus Sports Center.
The meet commences Friday with field events starting at 3:45 p.m. ET. Competition resumes Saturday, beginning at 9:45 a.m. ET. Flotrack will broadcast the Meyo Invitational with total coverage both days of the event. Live results will be available via delatiming.com.
JOINING THE RANKS
In the weekly poll released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Notre Dame women rank 24th in the national standings. The placement sets the Irish fourth among Atlantic Coast Conference representatives. ACC members ranked in the Top 25 include, NC State (8), Miami (15), Duke (17) and Notre Dame (24). The USTFCCCA also released its regional rankings, as the Irish women stand ninth in the Great Lakes Region with a score of 129.23.
On the men’s side, Notre Dame is situated just outside the Top 10, ranking 13th in the Great Lakes Region (78.06).
IRISH IN THE INDIVIDUAL TOP 50
A pair of Notre Dame student-athletes – Anna Rohrer and Nathan Richartz – have registered Top 50 times/marks in Division I competition thus far this season, according to the Track & Field Reporting System (www.TFRRS.org). Rohrer holds the 28th-best time in the 3,000-meter run, while Richartz posted the 31st-best mark in pole vault with 5.30 meters.
Notre Dame head coach Alan Turner took some time this week to discuss the prestigious Meyo Invitational and share his thoughts on this edition’s field.
On what is special about the Meyo InvitationalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“I think the volume of the meet, shear number of competitors which is over 1,000, along with high quality performances in each event. Almost each event we have, there will be an All-American and in several events there will be professional athletes. Not only should we see performances that are Top 20 in the country, but also you may see some Top 20 performances in the world. This meet for a track fan is just a pure delight.”
On what it’s like being the head coach as the host schoolÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“It’s a lot of pressure to make sure it goes on without a hitch. In a track meet this size, there are going to be some mishaps here and there. However, the goal is just to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have some good performances and has a good experience when they visit campus.”
On the infamous Meyo MileÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“It’s always going to be a marquee event. The previous coach, Joe Piane, has made that a marquee event. A lot of top milers across the Midwest come, so we want to maintain it as a very competitive race. Last year, we didn’t have anyone break four-minutes, which is surprising because we’ve had a pretty good streak of that. We have a pretty good group this year.”
On the status of Notre Dame heading into the meetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“This meet is a good gauge of where a team is going to be for the next month going into conference meets. I hope we do very well, and our women’s team should do well in our strong events. We’re strong is most everything on the track. On the men’s side, our distance guys will be going full speed, so it will be exciting to see how they preform.”
On events fans shouldn’t miss, other than the Meyo MileÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
“The throws are going to be something to check out, as well as the women’s shot put. We have Raven Saunders from Ole Miss in the women’s shot put. She was the NCAA champion in the indoor and outdoor meets, and will probably shatter the Loftus record. Purdue has an excellent male thrower – one of the top guys in the country. The throws will be outstanding.
“We have a really good women’s hurdle field. Cindy Ofili from Michigan has the top time in the country; she’s one to look out for. Another contender will be Jade Barber, who recently graduated from Notre Dame.”
WELCOME HOME, IRISH
Along with current Notre Dame student-athletes taking their mark this weekend, Irish fans can anticipate performances from the following alums:
Rebecca Tracy – Currently in medical school, Tracy will return to compete in the Meyo Mile, an event she has won in the past.
Mary Saxer – Will compete with Nike/NYAC in the pole vault. She has registered a standout year so far, hitting the automatic standard for the Olympic Trials with a 4.71-meter vault. Currently, she is tied for third in the world.
Patrick Feeney – Scheduled to compete in the 400-meter dash, as well as the 60-meter sprint.
Jade Barber – Look for Barber to make headlines in the 60-meter hurdles.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Notre Dame track and field program announced a generous $5.5 million gift from Notre dame alumnus Robert H. Harris and his wife, Mary Ellen, to underwrite the construction of an outdoor stadium for the Irish.
The Harris Family Track and Field Stadium will be built on the west side of the nine-lane outdoor track and field facility in the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus.
This gift, coupled with their previous donation in 2008 toward the completion of the track, will have a lasting impact on the transformation of the track and field program, said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics.
“We are grateful to Bob and Mary Ellen Harris for this generous gift that will enable us to make a major advancement in facilities for Notre Dame student-athletes in track and field,” said Swarbrick. “The creation of locker rooms and other team space surrounding the outdoor track will provide a first-class home for our men’s and women’s squads.
“In addition, we hope the future improvements to this facility will make it another wonderful resource for the greater South Bend community, much as the Compton Family Ice Arena has become.”
The facility complements the Loftus Sports Center, providing Notre Dame a standout setup, both indoors and outdoors. Home of the Meyo Invitational, the Loftus has been in use by the Irish since 1988 and still receives boastful complements from coaches, student-athletes and visitors.
“The great thing about Loftus is the track, which is the biggest available on a college campus,” Turner said. “Having that big track means you can have some pretty fast times due to the tight turns. The downside of our track is that the building was designed for football practice, so there isn’t a lot of bleacher space. However, we make up for that by allowing the fans to go all over the building. You can see the long jump, the hurdles and all the running events, literally within 10 feet of the athlete. You don’t get that in a lot of sports.
“With Loftus, it’s a great indoor facility. However, we are very excited about our new outdoor facility. It completes our package, so to speak. Once we get the outdoor track up and running, we can’t wait to host some premier outdoor meets as well.”
LAST TIME OUT
The Fighting Irish made the short trip to Bloomington, Indiana for the Indiana University Relays, January 29-30. Overall, Notre Dame garnered 19 top-10 finishes on day two to complement seven earned during the opening session at Gladstein Fieldhouse. Kaila Barber, a graduate student from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, led the Irish with a win in the 60-meter hurdles events.
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