Women kick off Relays with multi-event competition

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The Associated Press

Notre Dame’s Carly Loeffel competes in the 100 meter hurdles portion of the women’s heptathlon at the Texas Relays athletics meet Wednesday at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Kristin Otto

The 85th Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays kicked off with the seven-event heptathlon Wednesday afternoon. The heptathlon embodies the essence of the Relays; the competition is multi-faceted, it challenges mental endurance and it requires well-rounded athleticism.

Approximately 30 years ago, the javelin and the 800-meter were added to the former five-event pentathlon. Consequently, the heptathlon was born. It is now the most prominent women’s multi-event competition in track and field.

Out of 25 qualifiers, 22 women from 19 universities and colleges across the nation showed up to Mike A. Myers Track & Soccer Stadium to go head-to-head in the university/college heptathlon, the first event of the four-day track and field meet.

The schedule for the long-running Texas Relays reflects the traditional format of a women’s outdoor heptathlon in which, on the first day, athletes compete in four events, two field and two running. Then, the heptathlon resumes the following day with two more field events and ends with a track race.

The heptathletes, seven of whom were coming off of performances at the NCAA Indoor Championships, opened the meet by running in the first of the competition’s seven events, the 100-meter hurdles. With a finish of 13.40, West Virginia senior Chelsea Carrier-Eades clenched first, earning a whopping 1,065 points.

The second and third heptathlon trials were a pair of field events: the high jump and the shot put, respectively. In the former, Allison Barwise from Boston University leaped the highest of the bunch with a 1.78-meter mark. However, Carrier-Eades remained at the front of the pack with a second-place finish for 879 more points.

In the shot put, all eyes were on Notre Dame senior Maddie Buttinger, whose second-round throw for 12.34-meters earned her a victory.

Clocking in at 24.16, Carrier-Eades took another second place in the 200-meter dash, Wednesday’s last heptathlon event, while Texas Tech’s Precious Nwokey snatched first by a 0.05-second margin.

After the first day of competition came to a close, the top two finishing competitors in the 200-meter occupy the top two seeds in the Heptathlon ranking. No. 2 Nwokey trails Carrier-Eades, who sits in first with a total of 3,536 points.

Today at noon, the athletes will face off in the heptathlon’s final three events: the long jump, the javelin and the 800-meter race.

Printed on Thursday, March 29, 2012 as: Heptatholon lacks Horns, still provides excitement