March 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Six members of the Notre Dame track and field program are on their way to Nampa, Idaho, for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships that are set for Friday and Saturday at Jacksons Track at the Idaho Center.
Qualifying for the Irish are seniors Maddie Buttinger (pentathlon) and Kevin Schipper (pole vault) and the men’s distance medley relay team (DMR) composed of senior Johnathan Shawel, freshman Chris Giesting, senior Randall Babb and junior Jeremy Rae.
Schipper begins his quest to become an All-American at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night, while the men’s DMR is slated for 9:05 p.m. that same night. Buttinger competes in the pentathlon on Saturday, with the 60m hurdles beginning the competition at 11 a.m.
Buttinger is making her first appearance competing in the pentathlon at the indoor championships after two consecutive appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon. The Waterloo, Ontario, native qualified in a tie for 12th place for nationals after scoring 4,008 points at the BIG EAST Championships in the five-event competition. Buttinger finished second at the conference meet, placing only behind Cincinnati’s Jasmine Cotton (4,192), who sits third in the country.
Schipper is also making his first appearance at the indoor championships after earning All-America honors as a sophomore at the outdoor championships. The Leo, Ind., native qualified in a tie for 11th place after vaulting 5.40m (17-8.50 ft) at the Alex Wilson Invitational to take the title. Schipper is coming off his third consecutive indoor BIG EAST title.
The DMR team automatically qualified after winning the Alex Wilson Invitational in a school-record time of 9:29.72. The time puts them fourth in the country, just .01 out of third place and .72 out of first place. Last year the DMR team composed of Shawel, Rae, Patrick Feeney and Jack Howard earned All-America status after taking fourth in 9:30.16.
Buttinger is just the second Irish pentathlete to make it to the NCAA indoors as she joins Alyissa Hasan, who finished eighth in 2008.
Schipper becomes just the third Notre Dame pole vaulter to advance to the NCAA indoors and the second Schipper. His older brother Matt finished 14th in 2009 while Michael Brown placed sixth in 1999.
A Notre Dame DMR team has made it to the NCAAs eight times since 2000, with last year’s foursome placing the highest in program history.
The top eight competitors in each event earn All-America status. In qualifying, Buttinger sits just 83 points out of eighth place, while Schipper is just .05m (two inches) out of eighth place.
ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 9 from 7:30-11:45 p.m. ET and March 10 from 8-11:15 p.m. ET. A tape delay of the championship will air Sunday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
NCAA.com and broncosports.com will stream what ESPN3 is not covering on Friday (Noon-7:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-8 pm ET).
A link for live results will also be available on UND.com.