March 13, 2015
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Notre Dame women’s track & field program added a trio of first-team All-American honors to their ranks on Friday at the NCAA DI Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
Juniors Molly Seidel and Margaret Bamgbose provided the bright spots for the Fighting Irish on a day. Both ensured the Irish would leave Arkansas with 2015 All-Americans among them, as Seidel took sixth in the 5,000 meters and Bamgbose moved on to Saturday’s 400-meter finals. The women’s distance medley relay team also earned All-America status for Notre Dame.
Seidel earned her first career track & field All-American nod, adding to the cross country honor she earned in the fall. Her sixth-place time of 15:48.31 set a new Notre Dame record, besting her own mark of 15:54.45 set earlier this season at Iowa State.
“Going into the meet she was in great shape (to finish high) and she had an outstanding season,” head coach Alan Turner said. “We’re so happy for her and proud for her and it’s going to continue for her in the outdoor season. She’s proving herself to be one of the elite distance runners in the country for us.”
Margaret Bamgbose punched her ticket to the finals of the women’s 400-meter finals despite a so-so race, ensuring the junior her fifth career first-team All-American scroll. Bamgbose finished eighth in the preliminary race with a qualifying time of 52.82, beating out Kiara Porter (VCU) by just 0.008 seconds for the final spot in the finals.
“(Bamgbose is) going to have to run a much better first half of the race and she’s going to be in lane 3 tomorrow (which starts uphill), so she’s going to have to get out much harder,” Turner said. “She always finishes pretty well, but today she didn’t. If she gets out harder and has her normal finish, she’ll be in the mix.”
The women’s distance medley relay team benefitted from a successful protest filed by Turner, which disqualified the squad from Villanova and moved the Irish into eighth place. The Wildcats dropped the baton on the first handoff and did not retrieve it themselves, Rather, it was picked up by a fan. The technicality resulted in another All-America honor for the Irish, who needed excellent legs by Bamgbose in the 400 and Danielle Aragon in the mile to finish among the top eight.
Senior Jade Barber missed making her third straight finals in the 60-meter hurdles despite running a season-best 8.18 seconds. Just one place and 0.001 second separated Barber from Saturday’s finals, but the senior settled for ninth in the preliminaries and second-team All-America recognition.
“Ninth place is probably the roughest place you can be, especially going into the finals,” Turner said. “It’s kind of hard to swallow. She ran her best time of the year, but we thought she’d run better than what she had. Jade will be back strong for outdoors and I think she’ll be All-American outdoors.”
On the men’s side, senior Chris Giesting similarly found himself just outside of the qualifying group in the men’s 400-meter preliminaries. Giesting, who has battled a hip flexor injury since late January, finished second in his heat after making up significant ground , but his 46.46 was good for ninth overall. He will also leave with second-team All-American honors.
“Chris had the unfortunate lane draw of lane 3, which is at a 60-degree angle at the curves,” Turner said. “You’re going to run 20-30 meters uphill before you go downhill and the others come downhill at a much steeper decline. … His hip still isn’t 100 percent, but he’s going to be just fine and have a great outdoor season. It just goes to show the depth (of talent) and how tough it is to be a first-team All-American.”
Bamgbose remains the only Irish competitor remaining in the field, and will toe the line in the 400-meter finals at 7:40 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Live results and live stream links can be found at the top of the page. To keep up with Irish track & field, follow @NDXCTF on Twitter and like Notre Dame Cross Country/Track & Field on Facebook.
NCAA Indoor Championships
60-meter hurdles (preliminaries)
9. Jade Barber, 8.18^^
400 meters (preliminaries)
8. Margaret Bamgbose, 52.82 Q
5,000 meters (finals)
6. Molly Seidel, 15:48.31*^
Distance Medley Relay (finals)
8. Notre Dame, 11:15.96^
Jessica Harris, Margaret Bamgbose, Samantha Murray, Danielle Aragon
400 meters (preliminaries)
9. Chris Giesting, 46.46^^
7:40 p.m. EDT — 400 meters (finals)
* Notre Dame record
^ All-America first team
^^ All-America second team
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant