June 28, 2018
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Atlantic Coast Conference announced on Wednesday that 11 Irish track and field student-athletes have been named to the 2018 All-ACC Outdoor Track and Field Academic Team. It is the highest number of Irish to claim the award since the 2015 outdoor season.
Matthew Birzer, Jessica Harris and Indi Jackson all earned the academic honor for the third time in their careers. Jacob Dumford claimed his second career honor while Rachel DaDamio, Gabrielle Diederich, Kelly Hart, Annie Heffernan, Logan Kusky, Yared Nuguse and Rachel Tanczos are first-time recipients.
Birzer picked up second team All-ACC honors at the Outdoor Championships for the Irish and qualified to Eugene for the second straight season. At nationals, Birzer finished 13th in the high jump to earn second team All-American honors.
Harris was runner-up in the 1500m at the ACC Championships and finished fifth in the 800m. She also qualified for NCAA’s for the second straight season in the 1500m. She set a season-best time in the semifinals (4:12.96) to finish 14th and earn second team All-ACC honors.
Jackson opened the outdoor season with a win in the shot put at the Hurricane Invitational. Then at the ACC Championships, she finished fifth overall and earned second team All-ACC honors.
Dumford finished his Irish career with another strong outdoor season, setting two personal records at the Stanford Invitational. At the ACC Championships, he finished sixth in the 1500m final and earned second team All-ACC honors.
Nuguse ran down Justyn Knight in the final 100 meters in the 1500m final at the ACC Championships to claim the bronze medal and first team All-ACC honors. Nuguse took part at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships and won the 1500m final to earn a spot on the national team. He will travel to Finland in July to compete for Team USATF at the IAAF World U20 Championships.
DaDamio claimed All-ACC honors at the outdoor championships after a sixth-place finish in the 5000m. She qualified to Eugene after making up four places in the final 800 meters of the 5000m at the east preliminary round in Tampa. At NCAA’s, she finished 20th and earned honorable mention All-America.
Heffernan finished one place ahead of DaDamio in the 5000m at the ACC Championships to claim second team All-ACC honors. She finished 12th at the east preliminary round in the 10000m to earn the final qualifying spot for NCAA’s. At Eugene, she finished 17th and also earned honorable mention All-America.
Kelly Hart finished right behind Harris in sixth place at the ACC Championships in the 800m and earned second team All-ACC honors. Two weeks later at the east preliminary round, Hart finished 13th in the 800m quarterfinal and just missed qualifying for nationals by one spot.
Diederich saved her best throw of the season for last at the javelin at the ACC Championships. The freshman’s final throw traveled a season-best 44.54m (146-1) to earn her a bronze medal and first team All-ACC.
Rachel Tanczos also had an impressive freshman outdoor season. She finished sixth at ACC’s in the shot put and earned second team All-ACC honors. Tanczos qualified for the east preliminary round in the shot put and discus, where her best finish was in 39th in the shot put.
Kusky picked up a win in the hammer throw at the Louisville Invitational. Then at ACC’s, he claimed a bronze medal and first team All-ACC honors in the hammer.
Complete List of Notre Dame’s All-ACC Academic Team Selections
Matthew Birzer (Business Analytics)
Rachel DaDamio (Applied & Computational Math and Stats)
Gabrielle Diederich (Undeclared)
Jacob Dumford (Computer Science and Engineering)
Jessica Harris (Theology)
Kelly Hart (Sociology)
Annie Heffernan (Neuroscience & Behavior)
Indi Jackson (Film, Television, Theatre)
Logan Kusky (Computer Engineering)
Yared Nuguse (Computer Engineering)
Rachel Tanczos (Theology)
To be eligible for consideration for the All-ACC Academic team, a student-athlete, regardless of classification, must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during their academic career.
Matt Paras, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since January 2018. In his role, he coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s lacrosse and cross country/track & field programs. A native of Warwick, Rhode Island, Paras is a graduate of the University of Louisville where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sport Administration. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, he worked at Vanderbilt University as the sports information contact for the women’s soccer and lacrosse programs.