April 5, 2002
2002 Spring Opener * Notre Dame, Ind. * Saturday, April 6
Irish outdoor track teams on a course for success this spring:
The 2002 outdoor track and field season began for the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s teams just two weeks ago, but both Irish squads have already taken steps toward national recognition. Most recently, the Irish team sent three groups to different events and each contingent came away with times and finishes to boast about. Last weekend’s competition at the Florida Relays, Stanford Invitational and Purdue Invitational was marked by several record-breaking and personal-best performances.
The Florida Relays in Gainesville ended up as a stand-out meet for junior Tameisha King. She claimed second place in the long jump with in impressive 6.31m (20-8 1/2) and helped the 4×100 relay team to a third-place finish (44.70). T. King’s long jump measurement is the best in the BIG EAST Conference so far this season (as of April 4) and puts her #2 in the country according to the NCAA Championship website.
T. King’s teammates on the 4×100 team were senior Liz Grow and sophomores Ayesha Boyd and Kristen Dodd. Their 44.70 time is ranked eighth in the nation and #1 in the BIG EAST Conference in 2002.
Grow and Boyd also had strong showings in individual events at Florida. Grow placed sixth in the 400 meters (53.61) and Boyd finished eighth in the 200 meters (23.60). Boyd has worked hard during the 2002 indoor and outdoor seasons to make herself into one of the top sprinters in the BIG EAST Conference. Her season-best 100-meter time (11.76) and 200 time (23.60) are currently in first-place on the conference performance lists.
Out in Palo Alto, Calif., at the Stanford Invitational, freshman Lauren King set the Notre Dame school record in the outdoor 1500 meters, taking ninth place in 4:22.89. King’s 4:22.89 finish places her ahead of teammate Megan Johnson’s 4:26.91 time earned last season and is currently ranked fourth in the nation. L. King’s successful weekend puts her in position to compete in the NCAA outdoor meet in Baton Rouge, La., beginning May 29.
While Johnson watched her school record fall, she finished a solid 15th in the highly-competitive field (4:28.40) and will combine with L. King for an impressive 1500-meter duo at the conference and national level.
The fierce competition at the Stanford Invitational did not stop Notre Dame’s Jennifer Handley and Jennifer Fibuch from posting season best times in the 5000 meters. Handley’s 16:28.55 time put her in ninth place (and, coincidentally is ranked ninth in the nation), and was a considerable improvement on her personal best 5000 meters time from last season of 16:40.36. Fibuch ended with a 17:23.30 time.
The powerful men’s distance duo of seniors Luke Watson and Ryan Shay also stepped up to the competition in Palo Alto. The defending 10,000 meter NCAA Champion and 2002 indoor All-American Shay took first in the 10,000 meters with a 28.39.43 time, securing himself a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Shay has already secured a spot in Notre Dame history as the most decorated track and field/cross country athlete in terms of All-America honors with eight over the course of his career.
Fellow 2002 indoor All-American Watson not only finished in the top-five in the 5,000, but broke his own personal record and Shay’s Notre Dame school record in the process. His impressive 13:44.92 time made him the second collegian across the finish line and assures him a spot in the NCAA outdoor meet.
Shay and Watson were not the only men’s distance runners to post great times at the Stanford Invitational last weekend. Sophomore Todd Mobley took 14th place in the 10,000 meters and is in position to compete in the NCAA meet as well if his provisional qualifying time holds up (it is currently the 14th-best time in the nation).
Closer analysis of the BIG EAST Conference performance lists:
The BIG EAST Conference office released its top times/marks list on Wednesday, April 3, and the Irish appear prominently on many of the rankings.
Among those that own the top times in the conference so far this season are Pat Conway (1500m, 3:51.11), Ayesha Boyd (100m, 11.76 and 200m, 23.60), the women’s 4×100 team (44.70), Jennifer Handley (5000m, 16:28.55), Luke Watson (5000m, 13:44.92), Betsy Lazzeri (heptathlon, 4463 pts.), Quill Redwine (high jump, 2.03m), Tameisha King (long jump, 6.31m) and Ryan Shay (10000m, 29:39.43).
The depth of both Irish teams continues well past the top spots in the rankings. Todd Mobley is second in the 10000m, Dwight Ellick is #2 in the 100 and 200 meters, Selim Nurudeen is third in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles, Derek Dyer is third in the discus and shot put and Jamie Volkmer is third in the pole vault and triple jump.
Spring Opener information:
The University of Notre Dame track and field teams play host to the 2002 Spring Opener at Moose Krause Stadium and the Monogram Track this weekend. Michigan State, Central Michigan and Western Michigan will be making the trip south for the meet. Results will be available on www.und.com, shortly after completion of the meet on Saturday afternoon.