Feb. 7, 2004
The 2004 Meyo Invitational completed its 17th edition on Saturday at the Loftus Sports Complex and the fans who packed the bleachers for the final races were treated to several of the top efforts in the nation this season. In all, 23 of the event winners in the meet reached the NCAA qualification, including several Irish athletes. The two highlights to come out of Saturday’s action were provided by junior Selim Nurudeen and sophomore Molly Huddle.
Nurudeen tore down the track in 7.79 to post the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles, giving the two-time BIG EAST 110-meter hurdle champion his personal-best time. The 7.79 effort is also the seventh-fastest time in the nation this season.
Huddle, who helped the women’s distance medley relay team qualify for the NCAA Championship on Friday evening, dominated her signature event – the 3,000 meters – on Saturday. Leaving the field behind, Huddle qualified for the NCAA Championship in 9:08.60, smashing her own school record (9:14.33) set at last season’s Meyo meet and besting her closest competitor by 14 seconds. Huddle’s time is also the third fastest in the nation this season.
On the short track, junior Dwight Ellick, an all-BIG EAST performer two years ago and the starting cornerback for the Notre Dame football team in ’03, posted a great race in the 200 meters. Ellick qualified for the BIG EAST in his second event (having met the 60-meter time last weekend) by finishing sixth in 21.60. He also finished 10th in the 60 meters (6.95).
Junior Lauren King, also a member of the women’s DMR team from Friday, put in her own individual highlight on Saturday. King finished the mile in second place, 4:42.98, for the third-fastest time in the nation this season.
Other top performances for Notre Dame on Saturday:
– Sophomore Ryan Postel improved his season-best time in the 400 meters, placing third in the competition (47.33). That time also improves his NCAA provisional qualifying effort from the Blue and Gold Invitational earlier this season.
– Junior Eric Morrison and freshman Kurt Benninger finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the Meyo Mile – the signature race of the weekend. Once again it proved to be possibly the best indoor mile in the nation for the season, as four competitors broke the four-minute mile barrier, led by Michigan’s Nick Willis (3:56.55).
– Junior Tiffany Gunn shaved almost a second off her season-best effort in the 400 meters, ending up sixth in the competition in 55.35.
– Sophomore Thomas Chamney took advantage of a very fast race in the second section of the 800 meters, taking ninth place overall in a personal-best 1:51.53. That time also ranks as the best on the team this season.
– Alex Fortunato qualified for his first BIG EAST meet in the 500 meters, finishing fifth overall in 1:05.56.
– Sophomore Sean O’Donnell made the BIG EAST field in the 3,000 meters, finishing 20th in 8:26.71.
– Freshman Justin Oppel reached his season and personal best in the pole vault on Saturday, finishing fifth overall by clearing 4.80m.