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Irish Open Strong At 2003 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

March 14, 2003

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams began the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships in fine fashion on Friday night, earning points on the women’s side and seeing two star mile runners qualify for the finals in their respective events. This year’s championships are being conducted at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., on the campus of the University of Arkansas.

Senior Tameisha King (Mableton, Ga.) collected the first indoor All-America citation of her career, finishing sixth in the long jump. A two-time outdoor long jump All-American, King turned in her best leap of the meet on her first attempt, soaring 20 feet, 6 1/4 inches (6.25 meters). That mark was slightly more than two inches off her season-best jump of 20-8 1/2, which also set a school record.

Sophomore Lauren King (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) was the other Irish female harrier in action on Friday, qualifying for the finals in the mile run with a time of 4:42.69. It was sweet redemption for King, who missed out on the finals of the mile run at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championships by a scant .07 seconds. The 2002 BIG EAST Conference indoor champion in the event, King had the seventh-fastest time in the preliminaries and will go in search of her first indoor All-America citation when the finals are held Saturday at 6:05 p.m. (CST).

On the men’s side, senior Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn.) entered the mile run preliminaries as the favorite to win the national title, having posted the top time in the nation earlier this year at the Meyo Invitational. Watson, a five-time All-American, easily qualified for the finals at this year’s NCAA Championships, placing second in his heat (fourth overall) with a time of 4:06.91. The field for the mile run final should be extremely competitive, with less than two seconds separating the qualifying times of all 10 runners. The mile run final is slated to take place Saturday at 6:15 p.m. (CST).

In addition to Watson’s qualification, the Irish distance medley relay team placed 10th in a time of 9:44.05. Three of the four members of the DMR team — sophomore Eric Morrison (Ancaster, Ontario, Canada), and freshmen Thomas Chamney (Clonmel, Ireland) and Ryan Postel (Lexington, Ky.) — were making their first NCAA appearances.

Several Notre Dame athletes will be on the track as the second day of the NCAA Championships begins on Saturday. In addition to Lauren King and Watson competing in the finals of the mile run, freshman Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y.) will compete in the 3,000-meter run. Watson will look to pull off a “daily double” when he runs in the 3,000 meters less than 90 minutes following the mile. The Irish women’s 4×400-meter relay team will be the last to compete, going off just before 8 p.m. (CST) on Saturday.

— ND —

2003 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships — Day 1
Women’s Long Jump – Final

6th – Tameisha King (ND), 20-6 1/4 (6.25m)
Women’s Mile – Preliminaries
7th – Lauren King (ND), 4:42.69
Men’s Mile – Preliminaries
4th – Luke Watson (ND), 4:06.91
Men’s Distance Medley Relay – Final
10th – Notre Dame, 9:44.05