February 16, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In their final meet before next weekend’s BIG EAST Indoor Championships, the Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field squads won four of the nine events they competed in at the Wolverine Open in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday.

The Irish sent a limited squad to the meet, but came away with wins in the men’s shot put, men’s high jump, men’s 3,000-meter run and the men’s pole vault. Junior Matt Thompson (Granite Bay, Calif.) won the men’s shot put with a throw of 51-11, just ahead of teammate Derek Dyer (Huntington, Ind.) who finished second with a season-best throw of 51-9 1/4. Sophomore Andrew Cooper (Granville, Ohio) also won the high jump with a leap of 6-6, while senior Tim Engelhardt (East Syracuse, N.Y.) claimed his first victory of the season, winning the 3,000-meter run in 8:38.61. Senior pole vaulter Mike Brown (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) rounded out the competition with a win in the pole vault with a mark of 16-6.

On the women’s side, sophomore Bethany Wilson (San Rafael, Calif.) set a school record and a personal best with a mark of 10-6 in the pole vault. Wilson’s mark beat teammate Natalie Hallett’s (Huntington Beach, Calif.) old school record of 10-0 1/2, which she set two weeks ago at the dual meet with Indiana. Wilson’s leap of 10-6, however, was only good enough for second place as Central Michigan’s Dawn Burrows won the event with a vault of 11-0.

BIG EAST Championship Preview: Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Syracuse, N.Y. this weekend to compete in the 1999 BIG EAST Indoor Championships. The meet starts on Saturday, Feb. 20 and will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 21.

The men will be looking to improve on their second-place finish of a year ago as they attempt to win their first-ever BIG EAST track and field championship. Senior Mike Brown hopes to three-peat in the pole vault as he attempts to become the second Irish trackster to win three consecutive BIG EAST individual championships. Former Irish All-American Jason Rexing was the first to accomplish the feat with his victories in the 5,000 meters from 1996-98. Junior Marshaun West (Sikeston, Mo.) should again be among the top runners in the 200 meters as he holds the top 200-meter time in the conference and narrowly missed automatically qualifying for the NCAA championships. West also has the top long jump mark in the conference at 25-6 3/4. Sophomore Terry Wray (Brandon, Miss.) will compete in his speciality, the 500 meters and look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish. Sophomore Matt Thompson, who made a successful debut at last year’s championships with his fourth-place finish in the shot put, will again be among the top competitors in that event. Senior Antonio Arce (Palmdale, Calif.) has the second-fastest mile time in the conference and should pick up some points for the Irish.

On the women’s side, a trio of juniors will lead Notre Dame as the Irish attempt to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish. Jennifer Engelhardt (Battle Creek, Mich.) will attempt to capture a BIG EAST Indoor high jump championship after finishing second the last two years. Her NCAA provisional qualifying jump of 5-9 3/4 is the second-best in the conference this year. Juniors JoAnna Deeter (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and Alison Klemmer (Troy, Mich.) will both compete in the 5,000 meters. Last year, Deeter and Klemmer placed fourth and fifth respectively in the 5,000. Deeter will also look to improve on last year’s third-place finish in the 3,000 meters. Look for freshman sensation Liz Grow (New Braunfels, Tex.) to make a big impact at her first BIG EAST championships. She currently has the fastest 400 meters time and the third-fastest 200 meters time in the conference. Her classmate Dore DeBartolo (Aurora, Ill.) is among the top BIG EAST performers in the 20-pound weight throw and shot put and should give the Irish some needed points. Senior Kelle Saxen (Canton, Ohio) will be right on Engelhardt’s heels in the high jump as she has finished third at the championships the previous two years, while senior Nadia Schmiedt (London, Ont.), will be in the hunt for her first-ever BIG EAST championship in the 500 meters.