March 11, 2003
2003 NCAA Indoor Championships
Fayetteville, Ark. * March 14 & 15 *Randall Tyson Track Center
Notre Dame sends a dozen competitors to the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships:
The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field team has qualified 12 competitors for the 2003 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend. The 12 qualifiers mark the most Notre Dame has ever sent to the indoor championships, eclipsing the nine competitors who made the trip last season and the seven from 1997.
Notre Dame athletes will appear in seven different events on Friday and Saturday. Senior Tameisha King will be the first in competition, entering the long jump at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Sophomore Lauren King will run in the mile prelims on Friday at 6:15 p.m., followed by senior Luke Watson in the men’s mile prelims at 6:35 p.m.
The men’s distance medley relay team finishes up Notre Dame’s Friday competition at 9:00 p.m.
On Saturday, the finals of the women’s and men’s mile are set for 6:05 and 6:15 p.m., respectively. Freshman Molly Huddle will run the 3,000 meters at 7:25 p.m. and Watson will enter his second event (and third race in two days) in the men’s 3,000 meters at 7:40 p.m. The women’s 4×400-meter relay team will end Notre Dame’s competition on Saturday at 7:55 p.m.
Notre Dame NCAA history:
The Notre Dame men’s team has made 18 appearances in which the team scored points at the NCAA indoor championship since 1968. The women’s team has made two scoring appearances, but has sent competitors to the meet since 1997.
The Irish men’s team highest team finish was 10th in 1965, helped by a fourth-place finish by Ed Dean in the mile and a second-place finish by Bill Clark in the two-mile run. In 1991, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail finished second in the 55 meters and helped the team post eight points. The 2002 team eclipsed that total with nine team points in 2002 for the best overall effort by the men’s squad. Ryan Shay finished seventh in the 5,000 meters and Luke Watson took third place in the 3,000 meters.
The Notre Dame women also enjoyed their most successful indoor meet a year ago with five team points (to finish 34th). Liz Grow ended up fourth in the 400 meters, while Tameisha King competed in the long jump and Ayesha Boyd appeared in the 200 meters. The women’s 4×400 relay team also made an appearance at last season’s indoor championship meet.
Notre Dame men’s team finishes and point total in the NCAA indoor championship: 1965, 10th, six points – 1966, 15th, five points – 1967, 26th, three points – 1968, 17th, 4 1/2 points – 1969, 17th, four points – 1970, 15th, six points – 1972, 15th, six points – 1979, 54th, one point – 1983, 49th, one point – 1986, 26th, six points – 1990, 45th, two points – 1991, 23rd, eight points – 1995, 50th, two points – 1997, 51st, three points – 1998, 60th, one point – 1999, 33rd, 5 1/2 points – 2000, 47th, three points – 2002, 21st, nine points.
Notre Dame women’s team finishes and point total in the NCAA indoor championship: 1999 – 47th, three points – 2001, 58th, one point – 2002, 34th, five points.
Notre Dame’s individual indoor champions are Tom McMannon (1972, 55-meter hurdles) and Rick Wohlhuter (1970, 600 yards). Other top finishes include Rocket Ismail’s second-place 55-meter effort in 1991, Ed Dean finishing third in the mile in 1966, Bill Clark finishing second in the two mile run in 1965, Luke Watson taking third in the 3,000 meters in 2002 and the two-mile relay team of Mike McCann, Joe Quiqley, John Brady and Rick Wohlhuter finishing second in 1969. The women’s team highest individual finish came just a year ago, when then-senior Liz Grow took fourth place in the 400 meters.
The Notre Dame indoor championship competitors:
The 2003 indoor season has been a break out year for senior Luke Watson, and any discussion of Notre Dame’s appearance in the NCAA meet should begin with the Stillwater, Minn., native.
Watson emerged as the top mile runner in the nation this season, winning the Meyo Mile in 3:57.83 – a time which is ranked first in the nation this year entering this weekend’s NCAA Championship. Watson led a group of five runners to finish under four minutes, one of which (Kurt Michaelis, Youngstown State) will be in the NCAA mile competition this weekend.
Although Watson will enter the meet as the favorite in the mile run, he will attempt to pull double-duty this weekend and run the 3,000 meters as well. Watson is among the top 3,000-meter runners in the nation this season, though he has only run the race twice in competition this year. His 7:55.78 from the adidas Boston Indoor Games is currently ranked eighth in the field. The double-duty effort will be challenging, as Watson will have to run in the preliminaries of the mile on on Friday at 6:35 p.m., then run the finals of the mile at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. The 3,000-meter competition is set for 7:40 p.m. on Saturday.
Perhaps Watson’s desire to run both events comes from his success in the 3,000 meters just a year ago. Watson finished third in the 3,000 meters, the highest NCAA indoor finish for the men’s team since 1972. He also has a strong history of fine performances at NCAA Championship events. Watson is a five-time All-American, earning two honors in cross country (2000, 2001), one in the aforementioned 3,000 meters, one in the 2002 outdoor 3,000-meter steeplechase and one in the DMR in 2000.
Watson also played a part in getting the men’s distance medley relay team into the meet. He anchored the school-record setting effort last weekend, but will give way to teammate Kevin Somok in the NCAA competition. Somok was a member of that now legendary Meyo Mile and finished 11th in 4:03.82.
Speaking of the men’s distance medley team and the Meyo Mile, sophomore Eric Morrison will be the lead runner in the DMR for Notre Dame on Friday at 9:00 p.m. Morrison finished eighth in the Meyo Mile (4:01.90) and will be making his first NCAA Championship track and field appearance. Freshmen Thomas Chamney and Ryan Postel also will be making their first NCAA appearances as members of the DMR team.
For the women’s team, a number of NCAA Championship veterans will combine with a freshman looking to make this weekend’s meet the most successful indoor meet in Irish women’s track and field history.
Senior Tameisha King, a two-time outdoor long jump All-American, will be looking to break through for her first indoor award on Friday. King finished sixth in the preliminaries of the long jump last season (19-9, 6.02m) and boasts one of the top jumps of the season (20-8 1/2, 6.31m) which broke her own school record.
Notre Dame’s other King, sophomore Lauren King, set the school record in the mile run during last weekend’s Alex Wilson Invitational to put herself in contention for the national women’s mile crown. King’s 4:38.37 effort is ranked sixth in the nation entering this weekend’s competition. The Toronto, Ontario, native just missed moving on to the finals of the mile run at the NCAA indoor meet a year ago, finishing in 4:45.09 and missing out on the final race by .07 seconds. King also is the 2002 BIG EAST Champion in the indoor mile run.
Lauren King also qualified for the 3,000 meters, but that event will be handled by freshman Molly Huddle. Huddle, who like her teammate also qualified in the mile run, is hoping to continue her spectacular rookie season. Huddle led the women’s cross country team to a third-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Championship by finishing sixth overall. Her 3,000-meter time of 9:14.33 shattered JoAnna Deeter’s 1998 school record 9:30.82 and is the seventh-best in the field this weekend.
The Notre Dame women’s 4×400-meter relay team enters the NCAA indoor championship for the second-straight year this weekend. All-American Liz Grow has been replaced by sophomore Tiffany Gunn, but junior Kristen Dodd, sophomore Ayesha Boyd and senior Kymia Love return from last year’s ninth-place team. Gunn, Dodd, Boyd and Love ran to a 3:55.26 effort at last week’s Alex Wilson Invitational to set the school record and qualify for the NCAA meet.
The University of Arkansas is hosting this weekend’s NCAA Championship. Full results will be available on www.ladybacks.com/championship/2002ncaaindoor.html. Recaps will be posting on www.und.com as soon as possible.