The Notre Dame men’s track & field team cleaned up at the Big East Championships last weekend, running away from the field (pun intended) to win the conference title with 153 points, earning over 50 more than second place South Florida (100 points).
Among the many Notre Dame stars last weekend were the football team’s own twins George Atkinson III and Josh Atkinson. After George posted the second best 100 meter dash time in the prelims (10.36 seconds), Josh stepped up in the finals to edge out his brother for 4th place overall with a time of 10.39 seconds–tenths of a second faster than GAIII, who was 5th. You can see the race: here (Josh in lane 1 [far right], George in lane 4)
Brian Hardin kindly pointed out that GAIII’s preliminary time was the 4th fastest 100 meter time by a college football player this year and the best time of any freshman college football player. Josh Atkinson’s preliminary time in the 200 meter dash of 21.20 seconds was the third best by any college football this year. Hardin also Tweeted yesterday that GAIII and Josh’s times were 2nd and 3rd among ND football players behind the one-and-only Rocket Ismail, who ran a 10.34 in 1991 (if anyone knows what kind of timing system the NCAA was using 21 years ago, I’d love to hear it – any chance that time was affected by a stopwatch?).
So what do we know? These guys are freakin’ quick. We also know that nobody is going to ever again argue that John Goodman has the fastest straight line speed on the team. We saw flashes of George’s brilliance with kickoff returns against MSU and USC, and saw what he could do in space at this year’s Blue/Gold game (now let’s just get him to hold on to the damn ball). Josh Atkinson and Lo Wood are still battling for the second cornerback position, but we shouldn’t expect to see Josh get beat deep too frequently which is comforting for those of us still recovering from “4th and 9.”
For a little context, Florida’s Jeff Demps once ran a 10.01 (tied for the world junior record), but he also gave up a chance at the NFL to pursue the Olympic trials, weighs about 35 pounds less than GAIII, and can’t break tackles. For more detail about how the Atkinson bros stack up historically, check out this excellent peice by Keith Arnold at Inside the Irish.
It would be a disservice to not mention some of the other Irish standouts from the weekend:– Freshman Chris Giesting was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Track Performer, winning both the 200m (sorry Josh) and 400m titles. Giesting broke the ND record in the 400m with a 46.03. That is 0.03 seconds off a provisional qualifying time for the Olympic Trials, folks. – Jeremy Rae won the 1,500m – Logan Renwick won the triple jump (WR recruit Chris Brown’s South Carolina state championship jump would have put him 5th in the Big East) – Andrew Hills won the hammer throw – Kevin Schipper took home the pole vault crown – The relay team of Rae, Randall Babb, Jack Favorite, and Johnathan Shawel took first in the 4x800m relay. – The women’s team took home 2nd place at the championships, led by Rebecca Tracy (1,500m) and the 4x100m relay team (Kaila Barber, Jade Barber, Michelle Brown, Aijah Urssery).
Now, let’s just get bench press machine Ben Turk competing in shot put next year.
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