June 10, 2004
The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams were represented by four competitors in the first full day of action at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championship in Austin, Texas. Highlighting the day for Notre Dame, junior Kerry Meagher qualified for the finals of the 1,500 meters – running the sixth best time in the preliminaries. For the men’s team, junior Selim Nurudeen, senior Kevin Somok and freshman Kurt Benninger also were in action.
Meagher finished heat one of the 1,500 meters in 4:18.23, taking third place and posting her third-best time of the season. She is in strong contention for her second All-America honor of the year (she finished seventh in the indoor mile) when the final race begins at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday.
Nurudeen competed well in his first NCAA outdoor championship, finishing just one spot out of the final race field. He placed fourth in heat three, running 13.61 (just off his personal-best of 13.57) – a time which ranks among the top five in school history. The final qualifier for the finals was Tennessee’s Aries Merritt – who ran 13.55. Nurudeen finishes 10th overall.
Benninger and Somok represented the men’s team in the 1,500 meters. Benninger, competing in his first NCAA outdoor championship, led the first two laps of heat one, putting up times of 62.2 and 2:07.7. He faded late in the race, however, ending up 11th in heat one (3:55.13) and 25th overall.
Somok, the lone senior in action for Notre Dame this weekend, ran a solid race in heat two. He finished 13th in 3:50.94 (his fourth-best time this season) and ended up 22nd overall.
Still to come for Notre Dame will be sophomores Molly Huddle and Stephanie Madia in the 5,000 meters, rescheduled from preliminaries on Wednesday (rained out) to just one final on Saturday at 8:55 p.m.