March 8, 2005
Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams will send six competitors to this weekend’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12.
Senior BIG EAST Champion Selim Nurudeen (60-meter hurdles and 200 meter dash), sophomore Kurt Benninger (mile), Adam Currie (distance medley relay), Trevor McClain-Duer (distance medley relay) and Eric Morrison (distance medley relay will represent the men’s team, while junior Stacey Cowan (high jump) will represent the Irish women’s team.
The meet will be held at the Randal Tyson Track and Field Complex in Fayetteville and is being hosted by the University of Arkansas. Of the six Irish competitors making the trip, four will be making their first appearances at an NCAA Championship track and field meet (Benninger, Currie, McClain-Duer and Morrison).
Among the Irish accepted entries, Nurudeen and Benninger lead the way, as both appear poised to earn All-America honors in their respective events. The distance medley relay unit of Benninger, Currie, McClain-Duer and Morrison also could challenge for All-America honors.
The women’s high jump shows up first on the meet schedule. Junior Stacey Cowan will be the lone field event representative for the Irish this weekend, as the Ferndale, Wash., native makes her second consecutive trip to the NCAA Indoor meet. Cowan earned All-America honors in 2004 by placing 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a clearance of 1.77 meters (5 feet, 9 3/4 inches). This is Cowan’s third appearance at an NCAA meet. She qualified for the NCAA outdoor meet in 2003 and took 14th by clearing 1.75m (5-8 3/4). In 2005, Cowan has a season-best high jump clearance of 1.80m, which is ranked 20th in the field heading into this weekend’s competition. Gaelle Niari of SMU has the nation’s top clearance entering the meet at 1.90m (6-2 3/4). The women’s high jump competition is set for 2:30 p.m. Central Time on Friday.
The men’s team will be represented in three individual events (60-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash and the mile) and one relay (distance medley relay). Senior Selim Nurudeen will compete in the 60m hurdles and the 200 while sophomore Kurt Benninger will compete in the mile and on the DMR.
Nurudeen will be making his third appearance at an NCAA championship meet after competing in the 60-meter hurdles prelims at the 2004 Indoor Championships and advancing to the semifinal of the 110-meter hurdles at the 2004 Outdoor Championships. Nurudeen has bested the school record in the 60-meter hurdles this season, running 7.72 at 2005 BIG EAST Conference Championships. Nurudeen’s 7.72 effort is currently ranked fourth in the nation. Mississippi’s Antwon Hicks has the top national time at 7.64. Nurudeen has five BIG EAST hurdle titles on his resume (110 high hurdles outdoor in 2002, 2003 and 2004; and the 2004 and 2005 indoor 60 high hurdles).
The 60-meter hurdles begin with the preliminaries at 5:20 p.m. Central Time on Friday, while the finals following the same day at 8:20 p.m. Central Time.
Nurudeen also will compete in the 200-meter dash, an event in which he won the 2005 BIG EAST Championship title on the way to earning the meet’s Outstanding Performer honor. His time of 21.13 ranks 16th in the nation entering this week’s meet. Wallace Spearmon of Arkansas has the nation’s fastest time entering the meet with a clocking of 20.35. The preliminaries of the men’s 200 will take place Friday at 7:35 p.m. Central Time. Finals in the 200 are slated for Friday at 9 p.m. Central Time.
Sophomore Kurt Benninger will be making his second trip to an NCAA Championship in the mile. As a freshman, Benninger qualified for the national outdoor meet, running 3:51.34 to place fifth at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. At the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Benninger finished 25th in the 1,500-meter final in a time of 3:55.13. Benninger’s 2005 season best time of 3:58.75 ranks sixth in the nation this season. Michigan’s Nate Brannen enters the meet with the nation’s top time at 3:55.11. The men’s mile preliminaries will take place Friday at 7:05 p.m. Central Time. Finals are slated for Saturday at 6:25 p.m. Central Time.
Senior Eric Morrison, senior Trevor McClain-Duer and freshman Adam Curie will join Benninger to make up Notre Dame’s men’s distance medley relay team this weekend. The Irish rank sixth in the nation entering the competition (9:35.12). Michigan’s 9:28.12 is currently ranked first in the field; a performance accomplished at last weekend’s Alex Wilson Invitational on the Notre Dame campus. The DMR will take place Friday night at 9:30 p.m. Central Time.
Full recap and results of Notre Dame’s performance this weekend will be posted as soon as possible on www.und.com.
Schedule of events for Notre Dame competitors (tentative):
Friday, March 11
2:30 p.m. - Women's high jump final (Cowan)
5:20 p.m. - Men's 60-meter hurdles preliminaries (Nurudeen)
7:05 p.m. - Men's mile preliminaries (Benninger)
7:35 p.m. - Men's 200-meter dash preliminaries (Nurudeen)
8:20 p.m. - Men's 60-meter hurdles final (Nurudeen)
9 p.m. - Men's 200-meter dash final (Nurudeen)
9:30 p.m. - Men's distance medley relay final (Morrison, McClain-Duer, Currie, Benninger)
Saturday, March 12
6:25 p.m. - Men's mile final (Benninger)