Feb. 2, 2002
The Meyo Invitational, an annual meet that falls in the middle of the indoor season, is traditionally the time when the Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams start to prepare for the BIG EAST Championship. The Irish are preparing for the conference meet, but some stellar efforts on Saturday in the Loftus Sports Complex assured some of the Notre Dame team members a spot in the NCAA Championship – which will be held in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 8 and 9.
The women’s 4×400 relay team, taking its momentum from two outdoor qualifying times last year, ended up with one of the best times in the nation to cap the women’s running events on Saturday. Kymia Love, Kristen Dodd, Ayesha Boyd and Liz Grow set a school, track and meet record with a scorching 3:38.58 time. Taking into consideration the rankings from across the nation before this weekend’s competition, that effort stands at the second-best in the nation. The team was sparked by Boyd’s stellar 53.00 (unofficial) split in the third leg of the race.
The women’s team qualifications did not end with the relay team. Grow and Love pushed each other to two great times in the 400 meters. Grow finished second, but ran an NCAA time of 53.89, followed closely by Love with a career-best 54.23 (also an NCAA consideration time).
Tameisha King, coming off her 20-7 school-record effort in the long jump on Friday night, put together the two of the best 60-meter hurdle races of her indoor season the preliminaries and finals on Saturday. King’s 8.48 in the finals of the 60 hurdles was good enough for second, and leaves the NCAA consideration time of 8.43 in reach for the Irish junior.
In the distance lane, freshman cross country All-American Lauren King ran a NCAA consideration time of 9:35.86 to finish second in the 3,000 meters. King would also finish second in the 1,000 (2:55.48) later in the meet.
Other event winners for the Irish women included Megan Johnson in the mile (4:51.39) and Jaime Volkmer following up her pole vault victory from Friday evening with a 38-6 1/4, first-place effort in the triple jump.
After a stellar 5,000 meter race on Friday night, many fans, coaches and competitors expected to see an equally outstanding 3,000 meter race on Saturday. No one left the meet disappointed. Seniors Luke Watson and Ryan Shay (who ran the second-best time in the nation in the 5,000 on Friday) pushed each other to two outstanding efforts in the 3,000. Exchanging the lead in the race a couple times, the two teammates doggedly pursued a pair of NCAA automatic qualifying times, and easily accomplished their goal.
Watson pulled away on the final lap with an exception display of late-race power, posting a school- and meet-record 7:54.02 effort. Shay was not far behind, crossing the line in 7:58.73. Both Irish runners are now in position to compete in two events at the NCAA Championship. Watson will be there in the 3,000 meters and also is a member of the Notre Dame distance medley relay team that entered the weekend ranked third in the country. Shay already has automatic qualifying times in the 3,000 and 5,000 on his resume this season.
In the Meyo Mile, two more Irish runners recorded career-best times. Senior Sean Zanderson (4:09.12) and Kevin Somok (4:07.92) utilized the competitive field to record personal-best times and finish in the top 10 of the competition. Freshman Eric Morrison continued his stellar rookie indoor campaign, posting a 4:09.76 victory in the regular mile race during Saturday’s competition.
The men’s sprint team continues to get a boost from freshman Dwight Ellick. In just his second week of competition this season, Ellick improved his 60 meter time to 6.85 (finishing fourth) and looked impressive in a second-place finish in the 200 meters (21.88). Sophomore Ryan Hurd also recorded a personal-best time in the 200 meters of 21.97 to finish fourth.
The indoor season continues next weekend with the Windsor Invitational in Windsor, Ontario, on Saturday, Feb. 9. The BIG EAST Championship meet is set for Saturday, Feb. 16, and Sunday, Feb. 17.