June 15, 2003
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A salute to a veteran and a glimpse into the future were the themes for the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track & field teams as they wrapped up their 2003 season late Saturday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the campus of California State University, Sacramento.
In his final meet with the Irish, senior Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater H.S.) finished ninth in the 5,000-meter run, clocking in a time of 13:59.46. As one of the top eight Americans in the race, Watson earned the eighth All-America certificate of his career. Watson actually outkicked one of his national rivals, Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan, down the stretch and placed a quarter of a second ahead of his fellow senior. It marked the second consecutive year that Watson wound up in the top 10 of an NCAA final — he took seventh place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet.
Meanwhile, freshman Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Notre Dame H.S.) capped an impressive rookie season by finishing fourth in the 5,000 meters in a time of 15:55.96 to earn the first All-America honor of her career. Huddle is the second Irish freshman in as many years to garner All-America laurels at the NCAA Outdoor Championships — Lauren King received her citation after a sixth-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2002 meet.
The Notre Dame women also turned in a solid performance as a team at this year’s NCAA Championships, scoring 11 points to place 24th overall. Senior Tameisha King (Mableton, Ga./Pebblebrook H.S.) joined Huddle in scoring points for the Irish, picking up her third career All-America honor with a third-place finish in the long jump on Friday night. The 11 points were the second-highest total ever for Notre Dame, topped only by its 13-point effort in 1999 that was highlighted by JoAnna Deeter’s twin All-America citations in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
— ND —
2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships — Day 4
Women’s 5,000 Meters – Final
4th – Molly Huddle (ND), 15:55.96
Men’s 5,000 Meters – Final
9th – Luke Watson (ND), 13:59.46