March 26, 2005

Notre Dame, Ind. – Stunning performances in the men’s and women’s 5,000 meter races highlighted action by the Notre Dame track and field teams this weekend. Notre Dame sophomore Kurt Benninger set a new school record on the way to winning the men’s 5,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational Track & Field Meet in Palo Alto, Calif., and junior Stephanie Madia won the women’s 5,000.

Notre Dame contingents competed at two separate meets this weekend for the Irish. One group of 20 athletes competed at Stanford while another group of 10 athletes competed at the Dr. Pepper Invitational held Saturday at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Overall, 16 Irish athletes achieved qualifying marks for the NCAA Regional meets to be held in May, a precursor to the NCAA Outdoor Championships slated for June 8-11 in Sacramento, Calif.

Stanford Invitational Recap

Irish athletes won four events — wins by Benninger (Men’s 5,000), Madia (Women’s 5,000), Brett Adams (Men’s 1,500) and Kaleb Van Ort (Men’s 10,000). Additionally, 13 Notre Dame athletes produced regional qualifying marks overall.

The amazing performance by Benninger, of Chepstow, Ontario, Canada, was particularly impressive as it was the first 5,000-meter race of his life. Yet he outclassed a field of 29 competitors Friday night to win the event by a six-second margin ahead of Nicodemus Naimadu of Abilene Christian while breaking the tape in a time of 13 minutes, 33.05 seconds. That performance, the third-fastest 5,000-meter performance in the world thus far this season, broke the old Notre Dame record of 13:35.08 by Luke Watson set in 2002 at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Madia, of Wexford, Pa., won a close duel with teammate Sunni Olding in the women’s 5k and clocked a winning time of 16:14.30, the 8th-best in the United States this season. Olding finished second in 16:14.77. Both competitors notched NCAA qualifying marks in the race.

Adams, a freshman from Davenport, Iowa, won his section of the men’s 1,500 meters in a time of 3:52.27, but his mark was not fast enough to qualify for the NCAA Regional meet. Van Ort, a junior from Waterloo, Ind., won section two of the men’s 10,000 in a time of 28:59.35, a mark that qualifies him for NCAA regional competition.

Other Notre Dame athletes achieving qualifying marks Friday were: Tim Moore in the men’s 10,000 (29:03.43), Todd Mobley in the men’s 10,000 (29:37.21), Sean O’Donnell in the men’s 5,000 (14:05.60), Todd Ptacek in the men’s 3,000 steeplechase (9:05.40) and Ryan Johnson in the steeplechase (9:09.46).

On Saturday, the Irish produced three more NCAA qualifiers as sophomore Katie DeRusso (Fairport, N.Y.) was third in the women’s steeplechase in a time of 10:51.00. Eric Morrison was sixth in the men’s 1,500 meters in 3:46.55 and Stacey Cowan placed third in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.78 meters (5 feet, 10 inches).

Dr. Pepper Invitational Recap

Notre Dame’s sprinters took center stage for the Irish Saturday afternoon at the Dr. Pepper Invitational at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. A pair of athletes produced a total of three NCAA qualifying marks in their respective events to highlight competition for the Irish.

Sprinter/hurdler Selim Nurudeen, a native of Friendswood, Texas, starred while running in his home state for one of the few times in his collegiate career. He won the 110-meter high hurdles in a time of 13.92 seconds (an NCAA qualifying performance) and was third in the 200-meter dash in 21.53.

For the Irish women, sprinter Maryann Erigha, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was second in the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.47 and placed third in the 200 in 23.47. Both marks qualify her for NCAA regional competition. Also, both marks are personal bests for Erigha in those respective events.

Up Next

The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams continue the outdoor season next weekend with competition at the Indiana Relays at the Indiana University in Bloomington on Friday and Saturday.