May 14, 2016
By Lizzie Mikes
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame track and field program cheered on several top-five finishes in the field events, and saw four individuals advance into Sunday’s finals heats at the second day of the ACC Outdoor Championship. Among the four, men’s sprinter Alex Groesch earned a spot in the 400m finals race by winning his heat and locking up the last at-large spot in the evening.
Alex Groesch (front, L) was the sole men’s runner to advance into a finals heat.
Once again the day started with field events, and several Irish athletes earned top marks across various events. Brett Whalen took ninth in the women’s javelin throw with her 39.62m throw, while junior Indi Jackson earned second team All-ACC honors for her fourth-place finish in the women’s shot put event (15.62m). Emily Carson competed in the long jump (17th, 5.23m) and men’s high jumpers Matthew Birzer and Hunter Holton both earned All-ACC accolades. Birzer finished second overall (2.17m) and took first-team honors, while Holton claimed sixth (2.08m) and earned second-team honors.
In the decathlon and heptathlon competitions, senior Brent Swanberg finished fifth (decathlon) and graduate student Carly Loeffel took third (heptathlon). Swanberg earned 834 points towards his final score of 6,909 by placing fifth overall in the 100m hurdles (15.13) and also took second in the discus throw (39.32m, 651 points); eighth in the pole vault (4.10m, 645 points); fourth in the javelin throw (51.25m, 607 points) and seventh in the 1500m run (4:47.40, 634 points). He finishes the meet with second-team All-ACC honors.
Carly Loeffel finished 3rd in the women’s heptathlon competition.
Loeffel, who started the day in first place from her elite Friday performances, finished 10th in the long jump (5.41m, 674 points) and came in third in the javelin throw (37.94m, 628 points) and fifth in the 800m (2:18.81, 840 points). She finished the day in third place, with 5,594 points, earning first-team All-ACC honors and capping her career as the new school record holder (previous mark was 5,509 points, scored by Alyissa Hasan in 2008).
Looking to the track as the day progressed, several Irish women’s runners earned top marks and advanced into the finals of their respective events. Among them, graduate student Kaila Barber finished third overall in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.09, winning her heat in the process. Similarly, Margaret Bamgbose qualified in the 400m (52.29) with the fastest time in the field. Jessica Harris, who has been in fine form the latter half of the outdoor season, qualified in the 800m with the second-fastest time of the day, 2:05.91, a time that is just several one-hundredths of a second off her school record mark of 2:05.26 from earlier this year.
The women’s team also cheered on several other track entrants throughout the day. Taylor Craft joined Barber in the hurdles, crossing in 14.66. Parker English (54.30) and Payton Miller( 55.16) both ran in the 400m with Bamgbose, with English just barely missing a qualifying time. Stephanie Knight (2:10.12), Jamie Marvil (2:11.25) and Kelly Hart (2:12.28) all ran alongside Harris in the 800m, but did not advance to Sunday’s race. In the women’s 100m dash, Kyla Lewsi clocked the fastest time for Notre Dame in 11.86, finishing 14th overall, and Allison Bartoszewicz crossed the finish line in 12.03 seconds.
For the men’s team, junior sprinter Alex Groesch was the sole qualifier for Sunday’s races, winning his heat in the 400m with a time of 47.66, fast enough to earn a heat-winner berth in the finals heat. Patrick O’Connell (1:52.18) and Kirk Hansen (1:57.13) both ran in the 800m preliminaries.
At the end of day two, the men’s team sits in seventh place with 23 points, and the women are 12th with 13 points. The men’s javelin is the first even to kick off on Sunday, at 11 a.m. ET. A full recap will be posted to und.com, but 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.