Jan. 20, 2006
The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams kicked off the home portion of the 2006 schedule with the Notre Dame Indoor Opener on Friday, Jan. 20, in the Loftus Sports Complex. The evening meet was highlighted by 12 event victories for the Irish teams and an NCAA consideration effort by junior sprinter Okechi Ogbuokiri. Ogbuokiri was not the only Irish sprinter to perform well, however, as classmate Maryann Erigha took home victories in both the women’s 60 and 200 meters.
The Irish will host the Notre Dame Invitational next weekend in the Loftus Sports Complex as the teams continue their runs toward the BIG EAST Championship (Feb. 18-19) and the 2006 NCAA Championship meet in Fayetteville, Ark., (March 10-11).
Sophomore Zachary Lebrecque began the meet for the Irish men with a seventh-place finish in the 60 meters with a time of 7.18. On the women’s side, junior Maryann Erigha cruised to victory in the 60 meters in 7.53 to qualify for the BIG EAST Championship.
Next up on the track was the 500 meters. The Irish women earned the second, third and fourth spots in the race with freshman Nicole Yergler leading the way in 1:20.07. Sophomore Jennifer Leong took third in 1:20.70 and classmate Antonia Bethel ended up in fourth place (1:23.32). For the men, sophomore Austin Wechter placed first in 1:04.69, a BIG EAST qualifying time and just off Wechter’s season-best time of 1:04.38 from the Blue and Gold Invitational back in December.
The Notre Dame men also earned a victory in the first field event of the evening – the weight throw. Junior Garet Koxlien posted a winning effort of 16.23m (53-3). Koxlien had already qualified for the BIG EAST meet in the weight throw at the Purdue Invitational last weekend. Junior Kevin Moffitt just missed a BIG EAST qualifying throw, as he finished third with a 14.87m (48-9 Â½) measurement. The 2006 BIG EAST qualification mark is 14.97m.
The first distance run of the evening was the women’s mile and All-American Stephanie Madia proved to be in fine form early in the indoor season. Madia finished side-by-side with freshman Ramsey Kavan, posting a personal-best time of 4:53.06. Kavan’s time of 4:53.79 is highly respectable for this time of the season. Madia and Kavan qualified for the BIG EAST Championship with their efforts, along with teammates Amy Kohlmeier (fourth, 4:58.10), Elizabeth Webster (5:06.99) and Katie DeRusso (5:07.64).
Back in the middle of Meyo Field at the pole vault pit, freshman Mary Saxer posted a great performance, clearing 3.80m (12-5 Â½). That matches Jaime Volkmer’s sixth-best in school history from the 2003 Windsor Challenge. Senior Laura Huarte was not far behind Saxer in second place, clearing 3.65m (11-11 Â¾) and yet another rookie for the Irish, Kate Mattoon, also cleared 3.65m to finish in third place.
With the University of Windsor in attendance, the 300 meters (a traditional event run in Canada) was on the meet schedule Friday evening. Ryan Postel won the men’s portion in 34.96, while the Irish women did not enter a runner in the 300 meters.
Moving up to the 400 meters, junior Okechi Ogbuokiri logged possibly Notre Dame’s best effort on the evening. Ogbuokiri won the even in 54.00, posting an NCAA provisional qualifying time. The time is just under Ogbuokiri’s personal-best of 54.03 from the 2005 Alex Wilson Invitational and sets the stage for a special indoor season for the Willingboro, N.J., native.
Both Erigha and Ogbuokiri combined to finished one-two in the 200 meters. Erigha took first place for her second victory of the meet in 24.19, while Ogbuokiri finished in 25.09. In the men’s 200 meters, Ryan Postel shaved a bit of time off his season-best effort to place second in 22.32.
Notre Dame was able to post two top-five finishes in the men’s 400 meters. Sophomore Bob Keuny took second place in 48.82, which is a personal-best and a qualifying effort for the BIG EAST Championship. He was followed by freshman Charlie Hilding in third place (49.04), who also was under the BIG EAST qualification time.
For much of the meet, the men’s high jump dominated spectator attention as Notre Dame teammates freshman Blair Majcina and junior Christopher Jacques battled back and forth. Majcina eventually earned first place, but both Irish jumpers cleared 2.02m (6-7 Â½) to easily qualify for the BIG EAST meet.
Yet another Irish victory was earned in the women’s 60-meter hurdles. Freshman Alyissa Hasan ran a solid race to place first in 8.94 which qualifies her for a spot in the BIG EAST Championship. In the men’s 60-meter hurdle race sophomore Jose Genao qualified for the BIG EAST meet by finishing second in 8.43. Freshman Patrick Needham just missed the BIG EAST qualification (8.58) by finishing third in 8.59.
Only two men were entered in the men’s triple jump, but on the women’s side, junior Cassie Gullickson earned a victory with a jump of 11.38m (37-4).
Back on the track in the women’s 800 meters, Western Michigan’s Christie Valanty won in 2:12.81, but sophomore Jacqueline Carter was able to take third in 2:13.18 for the Irish and qualify for the BIG EAST Conference meet.
Completing the distance events for the Irish were Loryn King and Ann Mazur finishing second and third in the 3,000 meters. King recorded a time of 10:19.82 and was followed closely by Mazur in 10:20.82.
The women’s high jump took center stage at the end of the meet with three solid performances by the Irish squad. Freshman Lauren Biscardi took first place, followed by senior Emily Loomis and junior Stacey Cowan. All three Irish jumpers cleared 1.73m.