Jan. 18, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – – The Notre Dame 2000 indoor track season begins this weekend when the Irish host Michigan State, Western Michigan and Ball State at the Meyo Track and Field, Friday, Jan. 21, at 6:00 p.m. Both the men’s and women’s team will make their 2000 indoor debut at the meet.
The women are coming off a best-ever third at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships in 1999. Led by senior All-Americans Jennifer Engelhardt (Battle Creek, Mich.) and Alison Klemmer (Troy, Mich.), the team is looking to improve on its 47th-place finish at the 1999 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Sophomore Liz Grow (New Braunfels, Tex.), a 1999 NCAA Indoor participant in the 400 meters, returns with newcomers Tameisha King (Mableton, Ga.) and Kymia Love (Memphis, Tenn.) supplying much needed depth in the sprint events. Four-time monogram winner Nadia Schmiedt graduated last year but the hurdle category has suitable replacements with King and junior Carri Lenz (London, Ont.).
All but one of the team’s threats in the middle-distance events return in 2000. Junior Leanne Brady (Trumbull, Conn.), sophomore Hilary Burn (Ottawa, Ont.) and senior Patti Rice (Mishawaka, Ind.) should contend on a regular basis this season. Rice also will serve as the team captain in 2000 along with Engelhardt.
The women’s distance group returns two-time outdoor All-American Klemmer and NCAA provisional qualifier in the outdoor 10,000, senior Nicole LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio). Throws and jumps will continue to improve with some returning talent along with some top newcomers. Dore DeBartolo (Aurora, Ill.), who recorded an NCAA provisional mark in the discus in 1999, returns to anchor the throw group. All-American Engelhardt should continue to provide top results as she has done each of the last three years in the high jump. Freshman Jamie Volkmer (Kearney, Neb.), a multi-event performer in the jumps, should provide some quality depth for the Irish.
The men will be aiming for their first BIG EAST title after earning a runner-up finish at the 1999 BIG EAST Indoor Championships. All four All-Americans return for the 2000 season.
Led by seniors Chris Cochran (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and Marshaun West (Sikeston, Mo.), both 1999 BIG EAST champions, the Irish sprinters continue to elevate their performances without the benefit of depth. West was the 1999 BIG EAST Outdoor Most Outstanding Track Performer and won both the indoor and outdoor 200 meters in addition to finishing second in the indoor long jump and the outdoor 100 meters.
All-American mile runner Antonio Arce (Palmdale, Calif.) and senior Phil Mishka (Toledo, Ohio) headline the deep middle distance group for the Irish. Senior Tom Kober (Gillette, N.J.) and freshman Doug Gunzelmann (Fairport, N.Y.) will also standout in 2000. The distance team is just as deep with All-American Ryan Shay (Central Lake, Mich.) returning and his cross-country counterpart sophomore Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn.) hoping to contend in the steeplechase after a year of experience running on the national and international level.
The throws group lost 1999 team captain Jay Hofner to graduation but returns senior Matt Thompson (Granite Bay, Calif.), the Notre Dame record holder in the 35-pound weight throw. The jumps group will once again be led by All-American West in the long jump.
Head Coach Joe Piane enters his 25th year at the helm of the Notre Dame Track and Field program, the longest tenure of any current Notre Dame coach. This year’s indoor schedule features three home meets including this Friday’s quad meet and the annual Meyo and Alex Wilson Invites.