July 7, 2004
The University of Notre Dame track and field program will be represented by two current and three former student-athletes at the 2004 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif. The competition begins Friday, July 9, and continues through Sunday, July 18 at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex. Sophomore Molly Huddle (5,000 meters) and junior Selim Nurudeen (110-meter hurdles) are the two current student-athletes from Notre Dame expected to enter the trials.
Recent 2003 graduates Luke Watson (5,000 meters) and Tameisha King (long jump), along with 2002 graduate Ryan Shay (10,000 meters), also will be in the competition looking to secure a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team heading to the Athens Games in August.
Huddle enters the trials this weekend as the strongest contender to make the U.S. Olympic Team. Olympic rules allow the U.S. team to send three competitors in each event – if each competitor meets the “A” qualification time. Huddle is rated eighth on the women’s 5,000-meter list entering the competition with a best time of 15:32.55, just off the “A” qualification time of 15:28.00. Huddle will need to finish in the top three of the 5,000-meter race (semifinal on Friday, July 9, at 7:45 p.m.; final on Monday, July 12, at 9:25 p.m.) to make the U.S. Olympic Team.
Nurudeen, who continues to get better with each 110-meter hurdle race he enters during his career, will cherish the opportunity to run among the nation’s elite hurdlers. A four-time BIG EAST Champion, Nurudeen appeared in both NCAA Championships during the 2004 track and field season as an individual and boasts a personal-best time of 13.61. The men’s 110-meter hurdles begin Saturday, July 17, at 12:35 p.m., followed the semifinals that same day at 2:30 p.m. The final race is scheduled for Sunday, July 18 at 5:13 p.m.
Out of Notre Dame’s former athletes, Tameisha King is the highest rated in the long jump (currently 12th on the Olympic Trials list). The Notre Dame record holder in both the indoor and outdoor long jump, King posted five top-10 finishes at NCAA Championships during her Irish career, placed fourth in the USATF Championships in 2003 and was the top finisher for the United States at the 2003 Pan Am Games. The women’s long jump begins with qualifying on Monday, July 11, at 8:40 p.m. The finals are set for Thursday, July 15, at 5:45 p.m.
Ryan Shay, a nine-time All-American at Notre Dame, was a strong contender to make the U.S. Olympic Team in the marathon. The 2003 USA Marathon Champion, Shay was expected to repeat this season before a minor injury curtailed his effort at the Marathon Championships and he has shifted his focus to the 10,000 meters (run on Friday, July 9, at 9:25 p.m.). The 2001 NCAA Champion in the 10,000 meters, Shay finished 10th in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials in the event.
Watson was an eight-time All-American at Notre Dame and posted five top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championship. A six-time BIG EAST Champion, Watson has the ability to excel at several different distances – posting impressive results in the mile run (running a sub-four minute mile in ’03), the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000 meters. Selecting the 5,000 meters for his run at the Olympic Team, Watson begins competition on Monday, July 11, at 8:45 p.m. The men’s 5,000-meter final race will be Friday, July 16, at 8:55 p.m.
Full results of each race will be available on www.usatf.org, while recaps of each Notre Dame athlete will be posted on www.und.com.