June 24, 2002
Senior distance runner Luke Watson, who will return to Notre Dame next season for a fifth-year of eligibility in track and field, took to the track once again last weekend at the USA Track and Field Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. Watson competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase preliminaries, finishing 17th as the fourth collegiate runner across the finish line. He was just three seconds away from qualifying for the final race and his strong finish puts the Stillwater, Minn., native in contention for next year’s collegiate individual title.
The USATF Championship marked the end of a hectic month for Watson. He qualified in two events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, La., (May 30-June 1) and earned All-America honors in the steeplechase. A fall suffered in the preliminaries of the steeplechase kept him out of the 5,000 meters final race on June 1.
In preparation for the USATF meet, Watson returned to his homes state to compete in the Minnesota Distance Classic on June 8. Running for Notre Dame, Watson dominated the mile run and just missed out on the coveted sub-four minute mile. His final time at the Minnesota Distance Classic was 4:00.68 – a new school record.
Also in action at the USATF Championship was 2002 Notre Dame graduate Ryan Shay. Shay, running unattached, finished seventh in the 10,000 meters (28:40.66).