March 3, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – Three meet records were broken and 51 NCAA qualifying marks established in day two of competition at the Alex Wilson Invitational, which concluded Saturday afternoon in the Loftus Sports Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. One of the nation’s premier “last chance” meets before next weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., the Wilson saw four meet records and 83 NCAA qualifying performances posted over its two days of action.
The Irish men’s 4×400-meter relay closed the day in style, taking second place in the event with a school-record and NCAA provisionally-qualifying time of 3:08.38 seconds. Senior Jordan Powell, junior Austin Wechter, junior Bob Kueny and senior Ryan Postel broke the old Notre Dame mark of 3:09.87 set by Trevor McClain-Duer, Powell, Postel and Selim Nurudeen in 2004. Northern Iowa won the relay with a time of 3:07.12 that ranks them fifth nationally after the weekend.
Postel also established one of Notre Dame’s top individual marks of the day, running a season-best and NCAA provisionally-qualifying performance in the 400 meters with a sixth-place time of 47.23 seconds. Postel’s effort ranks as the second-fastest in Notre Dame indoor history, as he now owns the three-fastest marks on the all-time school performance list. Postel joins senior Thomas Chamney (800 meters, mile), junior Jake Watson (mile), sophomore Patrick Smyth (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), the 4×400-meter relay and the distance medley relay as the Irish men’s NCAA qualifiers for the current indoor season.
Taking the top two spots in the men’s 400 meters were Minnesota’s Aaron Buzard and Mississippi’s Rodney Lockhart. Buzard improved his provisional NCAA time to 46.43 seconds, good for ninth in the country, while Lockhart moved up to 11th in the nation with a season-best effort of 46.46 seconds.
In the men’s 3,000 meters, Irish sophomore Patrick Smyth placed second in a career-best and NCAA provisionally-qualifying time of 8:01.32 seconds. Smyth, who now owns the seventh-fastest performance in Irish history, has now qualified for the NCAA meet in two events, having also run the 5,000 meters in 13:58.10 at the Meyo Invitational earlier this season. Winning the men’s 3,000 meters in meet-record time was Kansas’ Colby Wissel. His time of 7:53.08 betters his season best by more than ten seconds, stands as the nation’s second-quickest mark and takes down Jim Spivey’s former meet-best performance of 7:54.55 which he ran unattached at the 1994 Alex Wilson meet.
In the men’s 60-meter hurdle competition, Michigan’s Jeff Porter established the country’s fourth-best time in a meet-record effort of 7.70 seconds. Porter takes over former Notre Dame All-American Selim Nurudeen’s Alex Wilson record of 7.75 seconds, a mark which he set back in 2004.
The women’s triple jump featured an outstanding performance by Power Athletics’ Tabia Charles. Charles’ leap of 14.02 meters (46-00) broke both the meet (13.38m by Kent State’s Colleen Ramharak in 2005) and track (13.46m by unattached athlete Ibby Metzinger) record by over half a meter. Following Charles in the event was Central Michigan’s Jackie Smart, who improved her NCAA qualifying mark with a season-best jump of 13.14 meters (43-01.5).
In the featured Alex Wilson 800-meter competition, Michigan’s Andrew Ellerton took first with a new NCAA provisional mark of 1:49.30 meters, good for twelfth in the nation. In the women’s 800 meters, North Carolina’s Georgia Kloss blew away the competition, running the nation’s eighth-fastest time of 2:05.60.
A fourth Alex Wilson meet record was established Friday night by the Arkansas women’s distance medley relay team. The squad ran 11:13.17 to take top honors in the event and break the former meet mark set by Arizona State in 2005. The second-place team, Oklahoma, also ran under the previous meet record with their time of 11:13.94.
In addition to the Notre Dame male qualifiers listed above, senior female distance runners Molly Huddle (5,000 meters) and Amy Kohlmeier (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters) have earned NCAA-qualifying marks and are eligible to run at the NCAA Championships on March 9-10. The Irish should know how many athletes they will have competing in Fayetteville by Monday evening.
The conclusion of the Alex Wilson Invitational marks the end of Notre Dame’s home track and field competition this season. Videos of much of Friday and Saturday’s competition can be seen by clicking here: http://www.flocasts.com/flotrack/index.php.