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College track and field Irish helps team in 4x400

UCSD sets school record, gains All-American status at Division II finals

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Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:51 am

It will be awhile before Lauren Irish races again.

The 2010 graduate of Half Moon Bay High School suffered shin splints while competing for the University of California, San Diego, track and field team this season.

Her coaches have told her not to run for eight weeks.

While Irish plans to spend the time biking and swimming, to keep up her cardio, she will be able to reflect on her final two races of the year and smile.

The sophomore helped the Tritons set a school record, finishing second in their heat of the 4x400 relay in 3 minutes, 42.17 seconds at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Champions, held May 25 in Pueblo, Colo.

The Tritons slipped to seventh in the finals in 3:45.17, mainly because of some contact made between two runners from two teams in a pass.

But the seventh-place finish was good enough for Irish and her 4x400 teammates, freshman Sabrina Pimentel and seniors Deyna Roberson and Jaqueline Rose, to earn All-American status.

“We were all bummed we didn’t get a better place or time,” Irish said. “But getting the All-American award took the sting away. We were hoping to be at the top of the podium. But we are all very proud to be All- Americans. We realize this is a big accomplishment.”

It was also Irish’s only chance to gain All-American status. Irish ran barely a handful of 400-meter races. As a sophomore and junior at Half Moon Bay, she qualified for the state meet in that event.

She focused on the 400-meter hurdles this season, gaining a provisional qualifying mark of 1:01.83 at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships back in early May. The fourth-place finish ranked her 30th in the nation. However, the meet only qualified the top 18. Irish’s time was nearly a second behind the final qualifier.

“I didn’t expect to make the nationals (in the hurdles),” Irish said. “I’ll try and come back for the hurdles next year.”

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