March 2, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Alex Wilson Invitational lived up to its billing as the premier distance medley relay meet in the country Friday night, as eighteen men’s teams and eight women’s squads set NCAA qualifying marks at the Loftus Sports Center on the campus of the university of Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame men’s DMR squad placed seventh in the meet, running 9:35.71 for what now stands as the country’s ninth-fastest time. Senior Todd Ptacek led off the Irish effort in the 1,200-meter leg, followed by junior Austin Wechter in the 400 meters, junior John Cavanaugh in the 800 meters, and junior Jake Watson in the 1,600-meter anchor leg.
The men from Texas took first in the event, led by 1,500-meter NCAA Champion Leonel Manzano who ran the Longhorns’ anchor leg. Watches had Manzano’s blistering split at 3:57.3 seconds, as he charged hard over the last 100 meters to take a decisive victory in section two. Tennessee, anchored by Tyler Devault, and Michigan, anchored by sophomore standout Lex Williams, also established NCAA automatic times finishing second and third, respectively. Texas, Tennessee, and Michigan are now ranked first, third, and fourth in the nation in the event.
In the women’s DMR all eight finishing teams established NCAA provisional marks, with Arkansas pacing the field in 11:13.17, the nation’s sixth-fastest time. The relay team from Oklahoma was not far behind, as they ran 11:13.94, which after Friday night ranks as the seventh-best mark in the country.
In the individual events, Notre Dame fifth-year senior Molly Huddle took top honors in the 5,000 meters, clocking 16:31.54 in a performance just a few seconds off her season-best debut at the BIG EAST Championships a week ago. In the men’s 5,000 meters, Louisville’s Wesley Korir ran away with the victory in 13:53.85, with Central Michigan’s Jeff Powers closing well for second place and earning a new NCAA provisional mark for himself in 14:06.92.
Friday’s field events featured five NCAA provisional performances, with many more likely to come during Saturday’s competition. The Alex Wilson Invitational will resume on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. with the men’s triple jump. The first running event of the day will be the women’s 60-meter hurdle trials at 11:00 a.m.
Videos of Friday night’s 5,000-meter races and distance medley relays can be found by clicking here.