March 25, 2006
TUCSON, Ariz. – Notre Dame track & field athletes won three individual titles and three earned berths in the NCAA Mideast Regional with their performances at the University of Arizona Jim Click Shootout, which concluded Saturday at Drachman Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. In addition to their season total of five NCAA regional qualifying marks, the Irish also added 10 more BIG EAST Conference Championship qualifiers, giving them 29 in just two outdoor meets this season.
Senior Ryan Postel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) had perhaps the strongest day for Notre Dame, winning the 400-meter dash in an NCAA regional qualifying time of 47.03 seconds, the seventh-fastest in school history. Postel also came across fourth in the 200 meters with a personal-best clocking of 21.70 seconds. He was one of four Irish athletes to post top-10 marks in the school record books on Saturday, joining sophomore Austin Wechter (Shelby, Ohio/Shelby), who had the third-fastest time ever for a Notre Dame sprinter in the 400-meter hurdles (personal-best 52.67, second place), freshman Mary Saxer (Lancaster, N.Y./Central), who recorded the school’s ninth-best height ever in the pole vault at 12 feet, 1.5 inches (3.70 meters), and freshman Alyissa Hasan (Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville South), who now owns the school’s No. 2 all-time score in the heptathlon with 4,665 points.
The women’s high jump produced Notre Dame’s other two NCAA regional qualifiers on Saturday. Seniors Stacey Cowan (Ferndale, Wash./Ferndale) and Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) both cleared 5 feet, 8.75 inches (1.75 meters) to book their spots in the Mideast Regional meet — Cowan took third place and Loomis was fourth following a jumpoff. Junior Cassie Gullickson (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Brentwood (Tenn.)) was sixth with a personal-best height of 5-7, good enough to put her into the BIG EAST Championship. It was one of two personal bests and conference qualifying marks for Gullickson, who also met the standard in the triple jump with her third-place finish at 39 feet, 10.5 inches (12.15 meters).
Junior Maryann Erigha (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee) just missed lowering her regional qualifier in the 100 meters, but still won the race in 11.67 seconds. She also finished third in the 200 meters (24.14 seconds), while junoir Okechi Ogbuokiri (Willingboro, N.J./Willingboro) was eighth in the same race (24.72) in the first of two BIG EAST qualifying performances. Ogbuokiri then met the conference minimum in the 400-meter dash, winning that one-lap sprint in a time of 54.80 seconds.
Sophomore Domenique Manning (Riverside, Calif./John W. North) barely ended up fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a conference qualifying time of 14.47 seconds, while senior Laura Huarte (Shingle Springs, Calif./St. Francis) qualified in her second event with a sixth-place finish in the pole vault (11-7.75, 3.55 meters). Last weekend, Huarte set a school record in the javelin, while also advancing to the NCAA Mideast Regional.
On the men’s side, junior Jordan Powell (Springfield, Ill./Calvary Academy) set a personal best in the 400 meters with his 49.03-second mark and sixth-place showing, good for a place at the BIG EAST meet. Junior Christopher Jacques (Old Brookville, N.Y./Chaminade) added a second-place finish in the long jump (23-4, 7.11m) and a sixth in the high jump (6-4.75, 1.95m), improving his BIG EAST mark in the latter event and qualifying for the first time in the former.
Leading the Irish throwers were sophomore Kyle Annen (Orofino, Idaho/Orofino), who was third in the hammer throw (173-10.5, 52.99m), and junior Garet Koxlien (Galesville, Wis./Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau), who was fourth in the discus (158-0.5, 48.17m).
Notre Dame will have split squads next weekend, with part of the group heading to the West Coast March 31-April 1 for the Stanford Invitational. The remainder of the team will compete in the lone home meet of the outdoor season, the Notre Dame Outdoor Opener, on April 1 at Moose Krause Stadium/Monogram Track. The first events are tentatively scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (ET), with athletes from Central Michigan, DePaul and Loyola-Chicago slated to join the Irish at the meet.
— ND —