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Men's 4x400-Meter Relay Completes A Solid Day At The NCAA Mideast Regional

May 29, 2004

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams wrapped up competition at the 2004 NCAA Mideast Regional on Saturday evening. While no individual competitor or relay claimed an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship (finishing in the top three guarantees a trip), several Irish athletes posted their best results of the season during the regional meet.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay stepped to some of the top competition in the country at the regional meet on Saturday. The NCAA Mideast Regional features several of the top sprint teams in the nation – LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Mississippi State just to name a few. The group of junior Trevor McClain-Duer, freshman Jordan Powell, junior Selim Nurudeen and sophomore Ryan Postel made their presence felt on Saturday.

Taking second place in section one, the Irish team ran a fantastic 3:09.65 – the fastest 4×400-meter time ran by a Notre Dame men’s relay team in 20 years. The group was just off the school record of 3:08.11 from 1985.

The relay placed eighth overall and was better than the previous year’s winning time. LSU claimed the title with a time of 3:05.20.

Junior Kerry Meagher ran well in one of the top 1,500-meter fields in the nation, finishing fourth in 4:18.16. The top three are automatically invited to the NCAA Championship meet in two weeks, but Meagher’s solid effort might earn her an invitation as an at-large selection.

Freshman Kurt Benninger finished up his first NCAA Mideast Regional, taking fifth place in the 1,500 meters (3:51.34). Benninger might be consideration for an at-large berth in the NCAA Championship. Teammate Eric Morrison ended up 10th in the 1,500 meters, completing the race in 3:55.31.

Sophomore Derek Goguen won his flight in the javelin, posting a best measurement of 58.90m (193-3). Goguen finished ninth overall. Senior Godwin Mbagwu also won his flight in the men’s triple jump, placing first in flight one with a jump of 15.82m (51-11). Mbagwu finished ninth overall, but the two-time BIG EAST Champion can walk away from his final competition with the Irish with his head held high. Mbagwu’s 15.82m leap is a new school record.

Junior Selim Nurudeen did not run well in his final 110-meter hurdle race of the season. After running the third-fastest time in school history on Friday evening, Nurudeen ended up ninth in the final race, crossing the finish line in 14.15.

Junior Kate Duman competed in the women’s javelin on Saturday afternoon, finishing second in the first flight. Duman’s best effort measured out at 39.60m (129-11) and placed her 14th overall.

Sophomore Stacey Cowan represented the Irish in the women’s high jump on Saturday, finishing seventh overall by clearing 1.74m (5-8 1/2). Cowan was in a tie for fourth place with the 1.74m effort, but ended up being placed seventh overall after clearing 1.67m (5-5 3/4) in a jump off with five other competitors.

Junior Ryan Johnson competed well in his first career NCAA-level competition as an individual, taking fifth in section one of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Johnson, one of the last qualifiers for the 28-man field, ended up 18th overall with a time of 9:26.92.

Sophomore Petra Dankova finished 14th in her first NCAA regional competition. Competing in the triple jump, Dankova finished fourth in flight one with a best effort of 12.48m (40-11 1/2). Already in possession of the school record (41-7), Dankova’s effort on Saturday ranks as the third-best in school history (she jumped 41-6 at the BIG EAST outdoor meet this season).

The Irish will find out later this week if any of Saturday’s competitors will join 5,000-meter champion Molly Huddle in the NCAA Championship in two weeks (Austin, Texas, June 9-12). Meagher, Benninger and the 4×400-meter relay team might earn at-large berths into the NCAA field.