Jan. 13, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Following a five-week hiatus for the Christmas holiday, the Notre Dame men’s and women’s track & field teams will return to competition Saturday when they take part in the Purdue Invitational, to be held inside Lambert Fieldhouse on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind. The Irish will not be sending a complete team to the meet, but rather the jumpers and throwers, along with a handful of other individuals.
Notre Dame opened its indoor track & field season on Dec. 2 with the unscored Blue and Gold Invitational at the Loftus Sports Center. In that meet, 28 Irish athletes combined to register 34 qualifying marks for the 2006 BIG EAST Conference Championships in a total of 19 different events. Furthermore, freshman pole vaulter Mary Saxer (Lancaster, N.Y./Central) provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships with a leap of 3.95 meters (12 feet, 11.5 inches) in her first collegiate competition. Saxer will be in action this weekend in West Lafayette, aiming to reach the NCAA automatic qualification standard in the pole vault (4.20m, 13-9.5).
The Irish also will have a solid core of high jumpers heading to Purdue on Saturday. On the women’s side, senior Emily Loomis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) already has the top mark in the BIG EAST this season, clearing 1.74 meters (5-8.5) at the Blue & Gold Invitational, but she will be out to reach the NCAA provisional qualifying height of 1.78 meters (5-10). Freshman Lauren Biscardi (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham Wading River) finished second to Loomis at the Blue & Gold at 1.69 meters (5-6.5), and she also will be looking to attain the NCAA qualifying standard. Likewise, senior Stacey Cowan (Ferndale, Wash./Ferndale) is seeking to improve on her 1.64-meter (5-4.5) jump from last month’s meet. Loomis, Biscardi and Cowan already have qualified for the BIG EAST Championships, which will be held February 18-19 at the Akron Athletics Field House in Akron, Ohio.
As for the Notre Dame men, freshman Blair Majcina (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) opened his college career by winning the high jump competition at the Blue & Gold Invitational with a leap of 2.06 meters (6-9). This weekend’s meet at Purdue will give the Irish rookie a chance to close in on the NCAA qualification mark of 2.17m (7-1.5).
“The Purdue meet is an opportunity for us to see exactly where we are,” Notre Dame jumps coach Scott Winsor said. “We haven’t backed off our training for the first couple meets, so we won’t be very fresh going down to Purdue. That being said, we do hope to improve on our performances from the Blue-Gold meet.”
A status check also will be in place for a group of five Irish throwers that will make the journey to West Lafayette. Senior Meghan Horn (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) took top honors in the shot put (13.13m, 43-1) and weight throw (15.49m, 50-10) at the Blue & Gold Invitational, qualifying for the BIG EAST Championships in both events (she was all-conference in the indoor shot put last year with a second-place finish at the BIG EAST meet) and setting a personal best in the weight throw. Meanwhile, freshman Anna Weber (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) placed second behind Horn in the shot put, establishing her first BIG EAST qualifying mark at 12.85m (42-2). She also was third in the weight throw (13.01m, 42-8.25) and will look to improve on that distance this weekend.
Sophomore Kyle Annen (Orofino, Idaho/Orofino) highlights the Irish men’s throwing contingent, coming off a win in the weight throw at the Blue & Gold meet with a conference-qualifying mark of 15.71 meters (51-6.5). Junior Garet Koxlien (Galesville, Wis./Galesville-Ettrick/Trempealeau) also booked his spot in the BIG EAST meet in the weight throw (15.31m, 50-2.75) as he looks to build upon last year’s fourth-place conference finish in the event. Sophomore Mike Schubert (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) won the shot put competition last month with a heave of 12.66 meters (41-6.5), and is aiming to reach the BIG EAST qualification threshhold this weekend.
“This will be our first true meet of the season which I am using as a measurement of where we are at the beginning of January,” Notre Dame throws coach B.J. Linnenbrink said. “We will knock the rust off from winter break and get ready for the upcoming track season. If we can get a couple of PR’s (personal records) along the way, we’ll take them.”
Complete results from the 2006 Purdue Invitational will be available upon conclusion of the day’s events at the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com) as well as the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000).
— ND —