March 31, 2018
By Matt Paras
The Notre Dame track and field team headed east and west to compete in two of the bigger meets this weekend. A win in the long jump and a number of top-five finishes highlighted the first days of the Stanford Invitational and Raleigh Relays for the Irish.
Freshman Antonio Villegas Jimenez got the Irish started in the infield Friday afternoon. On his fourth attempt, Villegas Jimenez jumped 6.97m (22-10.50) to claim his first collegiate win in the long jump. He continued his strong start to the outdoor season after setting a career-best mark (7.10m) at the Hurricane Invitational two weeks ago.
In one of the later events of the night, Jacob Dumford opened his outdoor season with a great time in the 1500m invitational event. Going up against a strong field of runners, Dumford set a personal record with a 3:42.04 and finished ninth. Dumford beat his previous mark from last year’s ACC Championships by over three seconds.
Sophomore Summer Thorpe tallied another top-five finish in the 100m hurdles. She won her prelim heat and advanced to the final. Later that afternoon, Thorpe set a personal-best time of 13.41 in the final and placed third overall. Naya Sharp set a personal-best time in the prelims (13.82) of the 100m hurdles and finished eighth in the final.
Sharp also qualified for the final of the 100m dash along with Kyla Lewis. Lewis finished with the third-fastest time in the prelims (11.83) after winning her heat. Sharp finished second in her heat and had the seventh-fastest time from the prelims (12.02). In the final, Lewis finished fifth (11.80) and Sharp finished seventh (12.06).
Edward Cheatham was another Irish runner to set a personal best mark Friday in Paolo Alto. Cheatham led a trio of Irish runners in the men’s 400m where he finished 13th overall with a 49.29. Zachary Zajdel finished right behind Cheatham in 14th with a 49.47. Allison Bartoszewicz with the top Irish female finisher in the 400m. She placed 13th overall with a time of 55.70.
Coming off her win in the shot put at the Hurricane Invitational, graduate student Indi Jackson fared well against some of the best competition in the shot put invitational. Jackson placed fourth with her best mark of 15.06m (49-05.00). Abbey Kapitan earned a seventh-place finish in the invitational event with a 14.56m (14.56m).
Three more top-five finishes came from the infield for the Irish on Friday. Matthew Birzer (2.06m, 6-09.00) and Hunter Holton (2.01m, 6-07.00) placed third and fourth, respectively in the high jump. Sophomore Logan Kusky paced the Irish in the collegiate hammer throw. Kusky finished fourth after his best throw of the day traveled 59.20m (194-03).
Known for having a strong distance field, Friday was no different at the first day of the Raleigh Relays.
Annasophia Keller made her outdoor season debut in the 1500m run. In a field of over 125 runners, the freshman from Effingham, Ill. placed 39th with a time of 4:31.76.
Rachel DaDamio took part in the 5000m run and it was another race with one of the larger fields at the meet. 136 runners placed on the women’s side and DaDamio was the top Irish finisher. The junior from Bloomfield Village, Mich. placed 25th with a time of 16:31.44.
Senior Kaitlin Frei set a personal-best time in the 10000m in the final event of the day for the Irish. She finished 37th overall with a time of 35:55.05.
The Irish will close out both the Stanford Invitational and Raleigh Relays tomorrow afternoon. The first event in for the Irish in Raleigh begins at 10am while the first event in Stanford starts at 1 pm.
Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track & field programs. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.