BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — It was a record-breaking day for the Irish track & field team at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships as Molly Seidel captured her third NCAA individual title, a program record, en route to her team finishing the day in third place after the first day of the competition.
In addition to Seidel’s title-winning run in the 5,000-meter race, freshman Anna Rohrer stopped the clock in fourth-place, just a few seconds behind. Seidel continues to rewrite the NCAA record book by adding a 5,000-meter NCAA indoor track and field title to her already impressive resume that includes an NCAA Championship in the 10,000 meter outdoor event and the 2016 cross country championship.
“It’s an enormous honor to capture my third NCAA title,” Seidel remarked. “I’m thrilled I was able to tally points for our team, but I understand I need to prep for my next race so our team can push for another national title.”
Seidel & Rohrer’s finishes were just the start of Notre Dame’s day as the women’s distance medley relay team finished sixth and Nate Richartz placed eighth in the men’s pole vault. Additionally, Kaila Barber and Margaret Bamgbose advanced to the finals of their respective events.
In the record-breaking 5,000-meter race, Seidel and Rohrer came into the event as the heavy favorites. Once the race started the Irish duo traded the lead throughout the first 1,400 meters before Rohrer set the pace for 800 meters of the event. At the 2,200 meter mark, the two-time NCAA champion took over. Seidel began to assert herself as she picked the pace up and crossed the line at 15:15.21, just a second off the meet record and the third fastest NCAA time of the year in the 5,000. In addition to setting an ACC and school record, Seidel helped push Rohrer, as she finished in fourth, completing the race in 15:54.53.
“Molly (Seidel) had a target on her back coming into this meet after winning the cross country title in 2015,” Notre Dame distance coach Matt Sparks said. “She handled those expectations with poise and confidence, solidifying her legend in Notre Dame lore.”
Richartz continued Notre Dame’s all-american haul as he captured first-team honors by finishing in eighth place on the back of clearing the 7’6.5″ height in the pole vault.
In the last event of the night, the distance medley relay team of Jessica Harris, Parker English, Jamie Marvil and Danielle Aragon finished sixth in the event after Aragon ran her fastest mile ever in a competitive race.
In the preliminary round, sprinters Barber and Bamgbose set the Irish up for their best finish in the NCAA Indoor Championship.
Barber claimed a berth in the final round of the NCAA’s by capturing a personal best finish in the 60-meter hurdles, stopping the clock in 8.05.
One of Notre Dame’s toughest leaders, Bamgbose, stepped up to the starting line of the 400-meter race knowing that she needed to finish in the top eight to qualify for the finals of the event. After a slow start to the race, she powered through, winning her heat and securing a place in the finals of the event. The Irish enter the second day of the NCAA Indoor Championship in third place, just nine points behind leader, Georgia.
You can follow along with the entre NCAA Indoor Championship on ESPN3 and on twitter at @NDXCTC.
BARBER: 60 meter hurdles BAMGBOSE: 400 meters SEIDEL: 3,000 meters
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