May 12, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame track and field program is back in action this weekend, this time, traveling to Florida State to race in the 2016 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championship. The meet opens Friday, May 13 at Mike Long Track and is scheduled to conclude Sunday, May 15.
Margaret Bamgbose heads into the weekend a strong contender to medal in several sprint events.
“We are definitely focused on our women’s team, as they should score points across all event areas this weekend,” Notre Dame head coach Alan Turner said. “Not having Molly [Seidel] or Anna [Rohrer] compete is a big blow for our team, but we still have several All-Americans running for us. As for the men’s team, we have been devastated with injuries but the goal for the men’s team is for the guys competing to make the finals and score points. We know we don’t have enough men entered in enough events to make a run at the top half of the team standings, but the guys we do have will be gunning to make the finals and place as high as they can.”
Notable names for the women’s squad include Kaila Barber, Margaret Bamgbose and Jessica Harris. Barber – in her final season of eligibility – has led a developing sprint corps for the Irish in 2016. At the ACC Indoor Championship, she finished fourth in the 60m hurdles (8.22) and seventh in the 60m dash (7.53), with her 60m dash time standing as a personal best. She won both the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles in the first week of the outdoor season at the Yellow Jacket Invitational and was named ACC women’s track performer of the week for it. “Kaila is the premier hurdler in the ACC; she can win both the 100 hurdles and the 400 hurdles, and will score some big points for us for sure,” said Turner.
Bamgbose – a 2016 Olympic hopeful for the Nigerian team – has also had a commanding outdoor season, winning the 400m at several meets and racing in the 200m and several sprint relays. “Margaret is ready to run very fast,” commented Turner, “She had outstanding relay splits at the Drake Relays two weeks ago in bad weather conditions. We are expecting her to challenge for titles in both the 200m and 400m.” at the Indoor Championship, she finished second and earned first team All-ACC honors in the 400m (53.21). “Both Kaila and Margaret will play a big part in the success of our 4x100m and 4x400m relays, which are currently ranked second behind Miami in both events,” said the Irish head coach.
Sophomore Jessica Harris
Harris – who has been training well throughout the outdoor season – looks to be a strong contender in the 800m. She finished fifth at the ACC Indoor meet (2:07.67) and earned second team All-ACC honors. She currently owns the school records the 800m outdoors in addition to the 600m, 800m and 1,000m indoor top times.
On the men’s team, sprinter Alex Groesch – who earned XX All-ACC honors at the Indoor Championship – will be running in the 200m and 400m, in addition to racing with the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Other men’s names to be on the lookout for over the weekend include Nick Hauser and Anthony Shivers (throws) in addition to Matt Birzer and Hunter Holton (high jump). Brent Swanberg (decathlon) and Carly Loeffel (heptathlon) will be busy throughout Friday and Saturday competing in the mult-events competition for the Irish as well.
“Nick and Anthony are having their best seasons,” stated Turner. “Nick in the hammer throw, and Anthony in the discus throw, both currently are No. 3 on the all-time list for Notre Dame. Both can break school records this weekend, and I expect both of them to score some big points for us, and get the team motivated and pumped up. Matt Birzer and Hunter Holton both have been consistent for us this year in the high jump, and should score big points for us outdoors, just like they did at the indoor meet.”
Live results will be available throughout the weekend, with three hours of the event broadcast on ESPN3 each day and a daily recap posted to und.com. 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.