March 3, 2005
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Alex Wilson Invitational will take place this weekend at the Loftus Sports Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The Alex Wilson is on of the NCAA’s designated “last chance” meets, and gives many of the nation’s elite collegiate athletes one last chance to post a qualifying mark, or improve a past qualifying mark, for the NCAA Championships next weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. A year ago at this meet, 107 national qualifying marks were achieved.
The feature event of the Invitational is the Alex Wilson 800, which will start at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The 800, which features many of the nation’s best half-milers, is named in honor of Alex Wilson, a former Notre Dame runner and coach, who led the 1957 cross country squad to the national championship. Wilson was undefeated in his career in the quarter-mile and the half-mile, and won the silver metal for Canada in the 800 meters at the 1932 Olympics.
Among the top entrants are many of the best runners in the country. Highlighting the event is Michigan’s Nathan Brannen, who nearly broke the collegiate record in the mile earlier this year. Joining him will be Mike Inge, from Kent State, who currently holds the seventh best time in the NCAA in the 800. Several other athletes in the race have already posted NCAA provisional qualifiers, and will be looking to reach the automatic qualifying time of 1:48.
The meet should prove to see many more excellent races throughout the weekend. The men’s distance medley relay certainly holds plenty of promise. In that DMR, the nation’s fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth best teams will square off in what should be a thrilling relay.
The women’s meet holds no less promise with the highlights of that meet expecting to come in the distance events. The women’s 800 meters, mile, and 3,000 meters will all be very competitive, with numerous All-Americans attempting to get to the NCAA Championships.
Since Notre Dame will not host an outdoor track meet in 2005, the Alex Wilson Invitational will mark the final home appearance for many Irish seniors. Selim Nurudeen, fresh off a pair of BIG EAST Championships, will race in the 60-meter hurdles, where he already holds the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA. Fellow sprinter Tiffany Gunn will also be racing at home for the final time on Saturday. Gunn, winner of the BIG EAST Title in the 400-meter dash, will compete in that same event this weekend. Gunn already holds an NCAA provisional qualifier, and will be looking to improve her chances of receiving an invitation to Fayetteville.
CHAMPIONS – The Notre Dame men captured their second BIG EAST Indoor Track & Field Championship on February 20, besting Rutgers 182-168.5 on the strength of 25 points in the 3,000 meters and 18 points in the weight throw. The women finished second to a tough Pittsburgh squad 161.5-140.
RECORD WATCH – A pair of Notre Dame school records have fallen this season. Meghan Horn broke the school record in the shot put, with a heave of 48′ 8.75″ at the BIG EAST Championships. In the same meet, Selim Nurudeen bettered his own 60-meter hurdles record with a time of 7.72.
HEAT SHEETS – Heat sheets listing every competitor in every event are currently posted on the und.com track & field page.
IMPORTANT TRAFFIC INFORMATION – President Bush will be visiting the Joyce Center on Friday afternoon, and the Irish men’s basketball team will be hosting Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon. Due to these special events, traffic and parking restrictions will be in effect during the Alex Wilson Invitational.
During the President’s visit, all parking lots adjacent to the Joyce Center will be closed, on Saturday, limited space will be available in these lots. Anyone attending this weekend’s meet is advised to park in the library lot (B2) located north of the Notre Dame athletics buildings. A portion of Juniper Road will be closed on Saturday afternoon, and the best option is to enter campus from the north.
Access to the Loftus Center can be found just north of Cartier Field and Moose Krause Stadium, on the south side of the building.
Parking maps can be found on the Notre Dame website at www.nd.edu/maps.
As always, admission to Notre Dame track meets is free.
RESULTS – Results from the Alex Wilson Invitational will be available after the conclusion of the meet on the und.com.