JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Irish kicked off the first day of the NCAA East Region Championships with the largest field of the weekend. Fifteen individuals represented the University on day one of competition with many notching personal best performances and advancing to later rounds.
Logan Kusky, Gabrielle Diederich and Rachel Tanczos all suited up in the field where all three posted strong finishes in their events. Kusky, who previously set the school record in the hammer throw finished 17th overall in the event, finishing with a mark of 65.67m. Tanczos competed on the women’s side where her second attempt of 58.02m was good for 30th overall. Finishing 29th in the javelin, Diederich’s first throw went 44.54m for her best of the day.
The regional leaders opened it up on the track for the Irish as Jessica Harris and Yared Nuguse raced in the 1,500m events. With the women’s race first, Harris clocked a time of 4:17.15 to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal, sitting second overall. Nuguse ran away with the men’s race, taking first in 3:45.06 to automatically qualify for the second round. Dylan Jacobs also competed in the race, placing 20th overall, just outside the at-large qualifications.
Samuel Voelz took to the track in the 800m as he crossed the finish in 1:50.80 and fifth in his heat for 30th overall.
The women’s 10K highlighted the night as four members of the Irish squad laced their spikes in anticipation for the race. The nation’s best 10K squad, Anna Rohrer, Jackie Gaughan, Maddy Denner and Annie Heffernan did not disappoint. In her second race of the season, Rohrer clinched her second victory, setting a new facility record of 33:07.90 to advance to the National Championships in Austin next month. She will be joined by Gaughan and Denner who finished second and 10th, respectively, both posting personal best times. Heffernan rounded out the Irish quad with a 35:23.80 time, placing 29th overall and securing the title of best 10K team in the nation.
The final race of the day featured four Irish men competing for their spot in Austin, Texas as the 10K semifinal events continued. Rookie Daniel Kilrea led the pack as he finished 15th overall in 29:38.57. He was followed by Bradley Wattleworth who took 26th place in 30:21.65, Kevin Salvano in 33rd (30:56.02) and Tyler Keslin who finished 38th overall (31:27.30).
After the first day of racing, three women have punched their ticket to the National Championship meet while Harris and Nuguse are still in search of a spot of their own as they move on to the 1,500m quarterfinals later this weekend.
Four members of Notre Dame’s team will compete in Friday’s events as Rachel Tanczos(discus) and Austin Parsons (javelin) get underway in the field at noon. Summer Thorpe and Jernaya Sharp will compete in the first track event of the day — the 100m hurdles — scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.
— ND —