May 2, 2004
The University of Notre Dame men’s track and field team won its second straight BIG EAST Outdoor Championship trophy on Sunday afternoon, posting 172.5 team points. Rutgers, the host of the championship, finished second with 160.5 points. The Irish women’s team capped a solid second day by moving up from seventh after day one to finish third (87 points). Miami won the women’s title with 160 total points.
The team title for the men marks the first time Notre Dame has won back-to-back BIG EAST track titles at either the indoor or outdoor meet. It is the fourth overall BIG EAST title for the men (three outdoor, one indoor) and third in the last three championships. The Irish women continued their streak of solid finishes as well, as the team has finished no lower than third since 1999 in the BIG EAST outdoor meet.
MEN’S DAY TWO RECAP:
The Irish men’s team title was delivered by a solid showing of depth by the squad (a Notre Dame competitor finished in all but three events – the 100 meters, pole vault and shot put). Senior Godwin Mbagwu was named the most outstanding field performer at the meet, after winning the long jump on Saturday and finishing second in the triple jump on Sunday (15.20m – 49-10 1/2). Mbagwu becomes the first Irish horizontal jumper to score in both events at a single conference championship.
Junior Selim Nurudeen increased his BIG EAST Championship individual total to four, winning the 110-meter hurdles for the third straight season. Nurudeen finished in 13.91 and swept through the sprint hurdle events in the BIG EAST this season. His win on Sunday, coupled with his triumph in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor competition, mark the first time an Irish hurdler has won both short hurdle races in the same season. Nurudeen also earned all-conference honors in the 200 meters, 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay.
Notre Dame’s third individual title on Sunday was delivered by freshman Ryan Postel, who won the 400 meters in 47.22. It is the first individual BIG EAST title of Postel’s career. He also earned all-BIG EAST honors in two other events – with Nurudeen, senior Ryan Hurd and freshman Tommie Lee in the 4×100-meter relay and Trevor McClain-Duer, Napolean Suarez, and Nurudeen in the 4×400-meter relay.
Suarez also earned all-BIG EAST honors as an individual, finishing second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.18. He finished third in the same event a year ago.
Notre Dame’s relay contingent proved strong once again on the men’s side, as all three teams earned all-conference honors. The aforementioned 4×100 and 4×400 teams both finished second, while the team of junior Eric Morrison, senior Kevin Somok, freshman Kurt Benninger and sophomore Thomas Chamney finished second as well in the 4×800 meter relay (7:28.48).
Benninger led a strong contingent of runners for Notre Dame in the 1,500 meters, finishing second in 3:50.03 to earn all-BIG EAST honors. Notre Dame’s men’s distance group contributed seven points in the 5,000 meters – with senior Todd Mobley finishing fifth (14:46.17), sophomore Kaleb Van Ort taking seventh (14:54.06) and junior Sean O’Donnell ending up in eighth (14:57.32).
In other field events, senior Jason Davis closed out his Irish career with an all-BIG EAST honors in the hammer throw – finishing third with a toss of 53.79m (176-6). Junior Chip Roberts was fourth in the same event with a 53.67m (176-0) effort.
WOMEN’S DAY TWO RECAP:
Sophomore Molly Huddle provided a big individual highlight for the Irish women on Sunday, defending her crown in the 5,000 meters. Huddle bested the field by over eight seconds, crossing the finish line in 16:21.20 – ahead of Boston College’s Jennifer Donovan in second (16:30.67). Sophomore Stephanie Madia earned all-conference honors in that same race by taking third in 16:37.35. The victory for Huddle provides the Elmira, N.Y., native with a BIG EAST event title at all four conference meets in which she has competed (DMR, indoor, 2003 * 5,000, outdoor, 2003 * 5,000 meters, indoor, 2004 * 5,000 meters, outdoor, 2004).
Notre Dame’s 4×100-meter relay team finished in the top three to earn all-conference honors for the fourth straight season on Sunday. The squad of senior Ayesha Boyd, senior Kristen Dodd, freshman Maryann Erigha and junior Tricia Floyd finished the race in 46.19, behind Miami in first (44.67) and Pittsburgh in second (45.87).
Sophomore Stacey Cowan, who finished 10th in the heptathlon, earned all-BIG EAST honors in the high jump, taking third with a clearance of 1.76m (5-9 1/4).
The Irish women’s final all-BIG EAST performer was junior Kerry Meagher. She finished third in the 1,500 meters (4:25.18) and qualified for the NCAA Regional meet as well.