March 25, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s track & field teams had a productive weekend, collecting seven NCAA Mideast Regional qualifications and 19 new or improved BIG EAST Championship qualifiers at the Arizona State Clif Bar Invitational, which wrapped up late Saturday night/early Sunday morning in Tempe, Ariz. The highlight of the meet for the Irish came in the relays, where both women’s quartets and the men’s 4×400-meter relay unit registered regional qualifying marks, with the men’s foursome circling the Sun Angel Stadium track in 3:09.38, the second-fastest time in school history.
Senior sprinter Maryann Erigha (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee) made perhaps the most noise for Notre Dame on the weekend, as she had a hand in three of the seven Mideast Regional qualifiers for the Irish. Erigha led a 1-2-3 Notre Dame finish in the 200-meter dash with a victorious time of 23.91 (regionally qualifying in that event for the fourth consecutive year), before running the third leg on the Irish 4×100-meter relay that won in 45.46 seconds. The Notre Dame veteran also anchored the 4×400-meter relay that finished fourth (3:41.12) and she nearly added a fourth regional qualification, winning the 100-meter dash in a season-best 11.77 seconds, just .02 ticks shy of the Mideast Regional minimum.
Senior Ryan Postel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) helped card two regional qualifiers for the Irish, winning the 400-meter dash in a season-best 47.20 seconds (his third regional 400-meter qualification in four years) and anchoring the record-setting 4×400-meter relay, which ended up a little more than one second off the school record (3:08.11 in 1985). Freshman Balazs Molnar (Dunaujvaros, Hungary/Szechenyi Istvan) took the baton for the third leg of that relay, and added his own individual Mideast Regional qualification with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles (52.36), laying down the third-quickest time in school history.
Senior Okechi Ogbuokiri (Willingboro, N.J./Willingboro) and freshman Joanna Schultz (Holmen, Wis./Holmen) took part on both of the Irish women’s relay units, while junior Domenique Manning (Riverside, Calif./John W. North) led off the 4×100 relay for Notre Dame and classmate Crysta Swayzer (Houston, Texas/Westbury Senior) ran the second leg for the Irish 4×400 quartet. On the men’s side, senior Jordan Powell (Springfield, Ill./Calvary Academy) and junior Austin Wechter (Shelby, Ohio/Shelby) rounded out the Notre Dame 4×400-meter relay — Wechter also notched the eighth-fastest 400-meter hurdle time in the Irish record books (52.72).
Junior hammer thrower Kyle Annen (Orofino, Idaho/Orofino) qualified for the Mideast Regional for the third consecutive year, as his season-best mark of 188 feet, two inches (57.36 meters) also goes down as the eighth-longest in school annals.
The Notre Dame track & field teams will return to competition Friday and Saturday, March 30-31 at a trio of meets around the country. Some Irish athletes will venture to the Stanford (Calif.) Invitational, while others will take part in the Bayou Classic (Houston, Texas) or the Mike Poehlein Invitational (West Lafayette, Ind.).
— ND —