April 22, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A week after having a strong meet at Louisville, the University of Notre Dame track and field team travels to another Atlantic Coast Conference foe in the University of Virginia, to compete at the Virginia Challenge. Unlike the Louisville Invitational which only featured six schools racing, the Irish will compete against 63 different colleges and universities this weekend, in addition to club and professional athletes.
Carly Loeffel is entered in the heptathlon at Virginia this weekend.
“Virginia is a great host, and their head coach Bryan Fetzer has done a great job in making this a very good, high-quality meet with a good representation from not only the ACC, but from the SEC, Big Ten, Conference USA, Ivy League and Big East conferences,” Notre Dame head coach Alan Turner said. “Every event has top quality entrants, and there will be several post-collegiate athletes competing as well. We do not have a watered down schedule, and that is by design. My team should be challenged every time they wear the monogram on their chest, and meets like this one prepare my team for the hard-fought competition they will face at the ACC Championship, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship meets.”
A total of 33 student-athletes will make the trek to Virginia, among them 14 men and 19 women. On the men’s side, top field performers Matt Birzer, Anthony Shivers and Nick Hauser hope to continue their successful seasons, while a number of track athletes will be making their outdoor debuts.
“The men’s team is still dealing with some guys who are not near 100 percent, which effects our depth for athletes on the track,” Turner commented. “This weekend, Chris Marco is making his outdoor debut in the 1500m, and Tim Ball and Kevin Pulliam will run in the 10,000m. Alex Groesch stands to compete in the 200m and 400m. Aaron Dunn and Drake Stimson will contest the 400m hurdles, and Patrick O’Connell and Kirk Hansen will run in the 800m. Patrick has run well so far this season, and I expect him to possibly break the 1:50 mark this weekend. We are well overdue and poised to put up fast times, with solid races this weekend.”
In looking at the Irish field entries, Turner was quick to compliment assistant coach Adam Beltran on the success they’ve achieved in the 2015-16 season.
“Coach Beltran has been doing a very good job with the throwers this season; Indi Jackson has been looking very good, and we can expect big throws from her in the shot put once she puts it all together. Nick Hauser and Anthony Shivers have been doing very well in the hammer, and I expect that to continue for the remainder of the season. Lena [Madison] is determined to finish her career at Notre Dame with some big throws in women’s hammer as well. Carly [Loeffel] and Brent [Swanberg] will both be busy as usual in many events, which is common for heptathletes and decathletes. They are both doing well in the throws and jumps. Matt Birzer and Hunter Holton have been consistent in the high jump, and I will look for them to hit the seven-foot mark outdoors.”
On the women’s team, top track performers Margaret Bamgbose, Kaila Barber and Jordan Shead will all don the blue and gold over the weekend, and are joined by Allison Bartoszewicz, Taylor Craft, Rachel DaDamio, Parker English, Sydney Foreman, Jessica Harris, Danielle Aragon, Kelly Hart, Stephanie Knight, Kyla Lewis, Jamie Marvil, Payton Miller and Lexi Pelletier. In the field events, Jackson and Lena Madison will both be in action alongside Loeffel, who is entered in the heptathlon.
“Margaret, Kaila and Jordan all had personal bests last week at Louisville; Margaret ran a 23.34 in the 200m, Kaila went 13.04 in the 100 hurdles and 23.82 in the 200m, and Jordan ran 54.32 in the 400,” Turner said. “They are running great at the moment and we will continue to keep the momentum going this week and next at the Drake Relays.
“Be on the lookout for freshman Kyla Lewis as well though,” he commented. “She ran a personal best in the 100m last week in 11.69, and is the third leg on our 4x100m relay which should challenge our school record time of 44.30 this weekend. Sophomore Parker English is entered in the 200m, 4x100m relay and leads off the 4x400m relay. She rested last week, and if she runs great, our relays will all run well.”
Live results from the weekend are available here, with daily recaps to be posted on und.com. For up-to-the-minute action, follow the team’s social media accounts on twitter (@NDXCTF) and Facebook (Notre Dame Cross Country/Track & Field).
— 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.