April 23, 2004
The University of Notre Dame men’s track team will return from the prestigious Drake Relays with its second 4×1,600-meter title in the last three years. On Friday afternoon, the Irish team of junior Eric Morrison, sophomore Vinnie Ambrico, senior Kevin Somok and freshman Kurt Benninger won the event in 16:23. The 4×1,600-meter race is one of the signature events at the Drake Relays, with each competitor running the metric-measurement equivalent of one mile.
All four of Notre Dame’s competitors ran their leg in less that 4:10. Morrison started off the race with a 4:07, followed by Ambrico in 4:09, Somok in 4:05 and Benninger in 4:02.
The last time the Irish won the 4×1,600-meter event was in 2002, when the group of Pat Conway, Morrison, Somok and Luke Watson covered the distance inn 16:39.31 – which included Watson running a legendary final leg to take over the lead and win by four seconds.
This year’s title marks just the third for the Irish men’s track team in the 4×1,600-meter event at the Drake Relays. The first victory occurred back in 1942, when William Kelly, Anthony Maloney, Francis Conforti and Oliver Hunter took the crown in 17:41.1.
This year marks the 95th running of the Drake Relays, which is widely recognized as one of the premier track meets in the United States.