Jan. 16, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame track and field program returns to action this weekend when it travels to the University of Michigan Harvey-Simmons Invitational held at the UM Indoor Track Building in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Irish got their first taste of competition in early December at the Blue & Gold Invitational, but with over a month between events, head coach Alan Turner views this weekend as another chance to warm up before entering the meat of the indoor season.
Notre Dame will send mostly jumpers, sprinters and throwers to the meet, giving the long distance specialists who competed during the cross country season a chance to rest before next week’s Notre Dame Invitational. Turner, though, did not downplay the level of competition, as Michigan, Toledo and Eastern Michigan have all achieved recent success.
“Usually you don’t want a tough competition the first meet back,” said Turner, “but Michigan has excellent distance runners in their program. Toledo’s women’s team qualified for cross country nationals, so they have some good distance runners. Eastern Michigan is going to be there, and they’re one of the tough teams in the Mid-American Conference and they had a few sprinters go to the NCAA Championships. So it’s not going to be an easy meet for us, but any time we step on the track, I want our kids to perform very well.”
The last time out, the Irish got exactly that, with two school records falling at the Blue & Gold Invitational. Freshman Jessica Harris (1,000 meters) and senior Emily Morris (shot put) both set Notre Dame marks in the season’s first competition. And while Turner admitted that those performances set the bar high for future competitions, he is mostly looking to gauge where contributions might come from the underclassmen as the season progresses.
Turner cited freshmen Parker English and Samantha Murray as two women he is excited to see compete in sprint events. English was one of the top 12 runners nationally as a high school senior, while Murray won the 800 meters at the Blue & Gold Invitational.
“We know what our veterans can do, we’re looking at what the freshmen can do for us,” Turner said. “I’m anxious to see what they can do.”
The Simmons-Harvey Invitational will feature teams from Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Detroit and Notre Dame. The meet will start at 10:30 a.m. ET at the UM Indoor Track Building. Live updates will be available. Be sure to like Notre Dame Cross Country/Track & Field on Facebook and follow on Twitter (@NDXCTF) for full coverage of the event.
By Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant