March 12, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Eight members of the University of Notre Dame track & field program will compete in the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships held March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark. The two-day event at the Randal Tyson Track Center will feature Kurt Benninger, Blake Choplin, Dan Clark, Adam Currie, Patrick Smyth, Jake Watson, Austin Wechter, and Alyissa Hasan of the Irish squad.
The NCAA Championships begin on Friday morning with the men’s heptathlon competition and will run through Saturday night. Reserved tickets for the two-day meet sell for $35 while a general admission ticket is $25. Single-day tickets may be available at the gate for $15 per day. Further details are available at host Arkansas’ website, LadyBacks.com. Arkansas is hosting the event for the ninth consecutive season.
“This is the biggest group of athletes that we’ve sent to the NCAAs in years,” said Irish head coach Joe Piane. “And frankly, everyone that’s going not only has the chance to score but could earn All-American honors (which go to the top-8 finishers in each event).”
Watson leads the Irish into the meet after registering the nation’s 12th-fastest time in the mile (4:00.39) during last week’s Alex Wilson Invitational. That mark – which was his personal-best – also went down as the sixth-fastest mile in school history. Watson earned All-American honors as a junior in 2007.
In the 3,000-meter run, Benninger (7:53.86) and Smyth (7:55.41) each qualify for the meet with outstanding runs at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 9. The distance medley tandem of Choplin, Wechter, Currie, and Clark qualified during the Alex Wilson Invitational as well with a mark of 9:35.33.
Hasan turned in a gritty pentathlon performance during the Alex Wilson Invitational to qualify for the national event. She enters the competition as the school’s record holder in the pentathlon after racking up 3,939 points at the Akron Open earlier this season. The junior is the 13th-seeded athlete in her respective event.
“She definitely has the potential to put together a really good score this week,” said assistant coach Scott Winsor. “Alyissa has turned herself into a good athlete for this team and has come a long way both physically and mentally as of late. Now it’s just a matter of her being able to stay settled to get through a complete day of multi-events. If she goes out there and performs the way she is capable of doing, it’s hard to think that she won’t finish among the top of her field.”
Complete results and meet recap will be available at und.com shortly after each day’s competition comes to an end.