NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Six former University of Notre Dame track & field student-athletes will compete amongst the nation’s premier athletes this weekend at the USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Jade Barber and Chris Giesting, who graduated in May after prolific careers in an Irish uniform, as well as 2014 graduate Patrick Feeney, have been training under Irish head coach Alan Turner will suit up at TrackTown USA in bids to earn spots on the 2015 IAAF World Championships, Pan Am Games, Thorpe Cup, Pan Am Juniors and NACAC Championships teams. Molly Huddle ’07 (Saucony), Rebecca Tracy ’13 (Oiselle) and Mary Saxer ’09 (Nike/NYAC) will also compete at the championships.
Barber will compete in in the 100-meter hurdles for the third time, putting in a semifinalist showing in 2013. The nine-time All-American finished fourth at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships — also at Hayward Field — and own’s the 12th-fastest time in the nation and 20th-best time in the world (12.85 qualifying mark; 12.70 personal best).
“Her event … is one of the United States’ deepest events,” said Turner. “She will have to be at her best to advance to the finals at USAs. When she ran her 12.70 in the NCAA semifinals her form was still a little rough and she hit a few hurdles. If she brings that same intensity that she ran in the NCAA semifinals, along with better form over each hurdle, she should be in the 12.6s and that should get her into the final.”
Giesting and Feeney will both compete in the 400 meters, and event in which they excelled during their time at Notre Dame, each earning a program-best 11 career All-America citations. Giesting owns both the Irish indoor and outdoor records in the event, as well as in five other sprint events. He placed 10th at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Feeney has turned in an impressive first season on the professional circuit, winning the 400 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, anchoring the U.S. team to victory in the USA vs. The World 4×400-meter relay at the Penn Relays, and ran a personal best of 45.51 at the Meeting International Region Guadeloupe (France).
“Over his career, Chris has run some incredible relay splits in the mid 44s,” Turner said. “If he can duplicate these efforts in the open 400, he will advance to the finals easily. He is ready to run fast and I am expecting him to do so.
“Patrick’s confidence is high and he is becoming accustomed to facing many of the top 400 runners in the world. He is rested and ready to run fast. I am looking for another personal record out of him next week.”
Huddle, who was a 10-time cross country and track and field All-American, is the American record holder in the 5,000 meters and will compete in that event as well as the 10,000 meters. The top seed in both, Huddle is expected to sweep the distance events.
Tracy will compete in the 1,500 meters with a qualifying time of 4:11.71. She still holds the Irish record in the 800 meters (2:05.31), but saw her record in the 1,500 fall this season.
Saxer, who still holds the Irish pole vault record (4.30m), is the fifth seed in that event with a qualifying jump of 4.62m. Saxer just narrowly missed the cut for the U.S. Olympic team in 2012.
Action for the USATF Outdoor Championships begins today and continues through Sunday. The first round of the men’s 400 meters will take place at 8:10 p.m. EDT today, with semifinals Friday and the final Saturday. The first round of the 100-meter hurdles will start at 8:30 p.m. EDT Friday, followed by the semifinal and final on Saturday. The USATF Outdoor Championships will be broadcast on the NBC family of networks.
Joanne Norell, Media Relations Assistant