Jan. 29, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame track & field program will send its top student-athletes to one of the nation’s premier indoor meets when the Irish travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the Razorback Invitational this weekend.
The meet, spanning from Friday to Saturday, marks what head coach Alan Turner considers the real start of the season. The Irish will be competing among the nation’s elite, including 10 men’s teams and seven women’s teams ranked among the USTFCCCA’s Top 25.
“This is probably the toughest meet since I’ve been here (as an assistant or head coach) other than the NCAA Championships in terms of quality,” Turner said. “This is a chance for us to really prove that we can compete with the elite programs. Our top athletes who have been to the NCAA Championships before I think are going to do very, very well.”
The Razorback Invitational will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Center, which will host the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Getting a feel for the atmosphere, will be a boon not only for those Irish student-athletes who have NCAA Championships experience, but also for those who are on the verge of qualifying for the first time.
“It gives them a chance to line up against the best kids in the country and see where they step up.”
Included among the competition this weekend will be top five men’s and women’s programs in host Arkansas (men No. 3, women No. 5), Florida (men No. 2, women No. 1) and Texas A&M (men No. 4, women No. 3). The Irish will also face ranked squads in Florida State (men No. 15, women No. 11), Iowa State (men No. 23), LSU (men No. 9), Oklahoma State (men No. 16, women No. 13), Purdue (men No. 20), Stanford (men No. 7, women No. 10) and Texas (men No. 10, women No. 7). Kansas, Oklahoma and Tulsa round out the field.
Notre Dame will switch things up for a few student-athletes, who will be competing in events other than their strongest. Junior Molly Seidel, who claimed the nation’s fourth-best collegiate time in the 3,000 meters at the Notre Dame Invitational last week, will compete in the mile, along with seniors Emily Frydrych and Karen Lesiewicz. Sophomore Taylor Driscoll, who normally excels in the mile, will compete in the 3,000 meters. Junior Timothy Ball will also run the mile as opposed to his usual 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters.
The rest of the Irish travel contingent will stick to their usual events. Senior Chris Giesting, who owns the nation’s best collegiate mark in the 600 meters after a school record-breaking performance last week, will revert to his normal 200- and 400-meter races. Junior Margaret Bamgbose, who is sixth in the nation in the 400 meters, will also run in the 200 meters. Jessica Harris will look to continue her impressive freshman campaign in the 800 meters; she currently holds school records in the 600 and 1,000 meters and ranks among the nation’s top 12 in both events.
The Razorback Invitational will begin at 4 p.m. ET Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and continue at 11 a.m. ET Saturday. The event will be broadcast on the SECNetwork+, available through ESPN3 (broadcasts begin at 6 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively). Live results will also be available.
For the latest on Notre Dame track & field, follow the Irish on Twitter, @NDXCTF, and like Notre Dame Cross Country/Track & Field on Facebook.
By Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant