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Irish Struggle On Second Day Of NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

June 13, 2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The fortunes of the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track & field teams turned as gray as the skies in Sacramento, as the Irish had their troubles on the second day of competition at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships late Thursday night at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the campus of California State University, Sacramento. Both individuals and the one Irish relay team that participated in Thursday’s preliminary heats came up empty in their quest to advance to the finals and potentially receive All-America honors.

Sophomore Lauren King (Toronto, Ont./Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute) placed 11th in her heat of the 1,500-meter run, turning in a time of 4:21.69. However, that was good for 20th in the field and six seconds away from the cutoff point for advancement to the finals.

Freshman Stacey Cowan (Ferndale, Wash./Ferndale H.S.) made her first appearance at the NCAA outdoor meet in the high jump, tying for ninth in her flight (14th overall) with a leap of 1.75m (5-8.75), which matched her season-best jump set back on March 22 at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. Cowan had a chance to reach the finals, but fail to clear the bar on all three of her attempts at 1.79m (5-10.5), which was the highest mark attained by any competitor in the field.

Perhaps the most frustrating setback of the night for Notre Dame came in the women’s 4×400-meter relay. The Irish placed third in their heat and shattered their previous season-best time by more than four seconds, clocking in with a mark of 3:33.53. However, only the top two teams in each heat advance to the final, so while Notre Dame had a better time than three of the other squads that did reach the final, the Irish had to settle for ninth place overall.

Notre Dame will hope for brighter things this weekend, as three athletes have qualified for the finals in their respective events. Senior Tameisha King (Mableton, Ga./Pebblebrook H.S.) will be the first to compete, taking part in the long jump finals Friday at 6:55 p.m. (PDT). During the preliminary flights, King turned in her best-ever jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, jumping 6.34m (20-9.75) to place third in the 12-person championship field. She previously won All-America honors in the event in both 2000 and 2002.

On Saturday night, senior Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater H.S.) and freshman Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Notre Dame H.S.) both will race in the finals of the 5,000-meter run, with the women going at 8:40 p.m. (PDT) and the men at 9 p.m. (PDT). Watson, who is going after his eighth All-America honor, is the only male Irish athlete competing at this year’s NCAA meet and he advanced to the finals after winning his preliminary heat and placing fourth in the field with a time of 14:00.85 on Wednesday night. At the same time, Huddle wound up second in her heat and third overall with a time of 16:18.21, less than a second out of the top spot.

— ND —

2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships — Day 2
Women’s 1,500 meters – Preliminary

20th – Lauren King (ND), 4:21.69
Women’s High Jump – Preliminary
14th (tie) – Stacey Cowan (ND), 1.75m (5-8.75)
Women’s 4×400-meter relay – Preliminary
9th – Notre Dame, 3:33.53