June 2, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y./Notre Dame) has been chosen as the 2006 Great Lakes District Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, it was announced this week by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The award winners in each of the nine districts were nominated and selected by Division I coaches around the country.
An eight-time combined All-American in track and cross country, Huddle was selected for her prowess in the both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, having posted the top time in the nation this season in each event. On April 13 at the Mount SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., Huddle clocked a 5,000-meter time of 15:40.41, which not only was the fastest mark by a collegian this year, but also automatically qualified her for the USA Track & Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships June 23-25 in Indianapolis. She went on to win the NCAA Mideast Regional title in the event last week in Knoxville, Tenn., claiming her third regional 5,000-meter crown in four years (she sat out the 2005 outdoor season with an injury).
Huddle also moved to the top of the 10,000-meter charts on May 6 with her winning time of 32:37.87 at the BIG EAST Conference Championships. That mark was particularly notable for two reasons — it was the first time Huddle had ever run that distance at the college level (she offered to compete in order to help Notre Dame pick up points in the BIG EAST team competition), and once again she automatically qualified for the USATF Championships. Ironically, in her record-setting efforts at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters this season, Huddle narrowly won thrilling head-to-head duels with Providence standout Mary Cullen, who was chosen as the Northeast District Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.
Huddle is the No. 1 seed in the 5,000 meters for the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships, slated for June 7-10 at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif. She will run in the semifinals of the event on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:50 p.m. PT (10:50 p.m. ET in South Bend), with the finals scheduled for Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET in South Bend). Despite holding the top national time in the event, Huddle has elected not to compete in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Championships since that race will be run on Thursday, June 8 (the off-day between the semifinals and finals in her primary event, the 5,000 meters).
— ND —