Jan. 31, 2002

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2002 Meyo Invitational *Loftus Sports Complex

Friday, Feb. 1 & Saturday, Feb. 2

Events begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, then continue on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Irish teams ready for 2002 Meyo Invitational:

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams hope to continue a successful run as they compete in the Meyo Invitational at home this weekend (Feb. 1-2). After some impressive performances at three early-season indoor meets, the Irish will take on several talented contenders in hopes of posting yet another strong showing.

In an indoor season highlighted by great performances, the men’s and women’s victory over Michigan State on Jan. 25, and the women’s victory over Western Michigan and Ball State on Jan. 18, both produced outstanding times for the Irish.

Look for Irish cross-country All Americans Luke Watson and Ryan Shay this weekend. At Michigan State, Shay’s second-place 8:07.06 time in the 3,000 meters was an NCAA qualifying time. Shay was the BIG EAST Champion during his sophomore season and won the indoor 5,000 meters last year. Should Shay’s 3,000-meter time hold up and earn him a spot in the NCAA field, it will be the first time the Irish fifth-year senior will run the 3,000 meters at the national level. He earned All-America honors in the indoor 5,000 meters in 2001. At the Meyo Invitational this weekend, Shay will run both the 5,000 (for the first time this season) and 3,000 meters.

Watson has lived up to early-season expectations at both home meets this year, posting a 4:10.06 mile against Michigan State and winning the 3,000 meters with a personal best and NCAA qualifying time (8:14.52) against WMU/BSU. Watson also is a key cog in the Irish distance medley relay team. With its qualifying time of 9:42.00 at the adidas Boston Indoor Games (Jan. 28), Watson led the DMR team of Kevin Somok, James Bracken and Eric Morrison, to capture a spot in the NCAA Championships. In the sprint lane, sophomore Ryan Hurd had two strong finishes at the WMU/BSU meet in which the Irish men placed third, competing in the 60 meters (7.12) and 200 meters (22.11). Freshman Dwight Ellick, the 2001 Florida state 100-meter champion, competed in his first race of the season vs. Michigan State, running a 6.93 in the 60 meters.

Teammates James Bracken and Trevor McClain-Duer have both finished strong in the 400 meters, with Bracken clocking in at 49.08 and McClain-Duer at 49.85. At Michigan State, the 800 meters showcased a powerful trio of Irish runners, as Eric Morrison (1:51.86), Kevin Somok (1:53.22) and Kevin Avenius (1:55.06) have posted great times. Morrison has developed into Notre Dame’s top 800-meter threat this season as well.

Freshman Ryan Mineburg has come through for the Irish in the high jump, with a 2.01m showing vs. Michigan State, improving on his 1.90m measurement against WMU/BSU. Freshman Chris Staron and senior Quill Redwine also should be a factor in the high jump both at the Meyo Invitational and the BIG EAST Championship.

The men’s throw group has been led by its two veteran performers, senior Derek Dyer and junior Brian Thornburg. Dyer has two consecutive victories under his belt in the shot put (vs. WMU/BSU and Michigan St.), with his top throw measuring at 15.53m (50-11 1/2). Thornburg has been impressive in the weight throw, tossing a personal-best 16.77m (55-1/4) against Michigan State last weekend.

The women’s team boasts two recent victories in the past month alone, with sprint, distance, and field events all being dominated by the Irish. Sophomore Ayesha Boyd walked away with first place in both the 60 meters (7.58) and the 200 meters (24.47) against Michigan State last weekend and has become a top performer for the Irish in just her second season.

The women’s sprint corps has established itself early as a very deep and talented group that can make a significant impact at the conference level. All-American Liz Grow is starting to hit her stride, posting the top time in the 400 meters for the team as she pursues the BIG EAST indoor 400-meter title. She won the race in 2000 and finished second in 2001.

Grow and Boyd have not been alone in the sprint lane this season. The Irish have qualified five different runners for the BIG EAST Championship in the 200 and the 400. Grow and Boyd join Kymia Love, Kristen Dodd, Tiffany Gunn and LaTasha Steele to make up a formidable group of sprinters.

Gunn has given the Irish a boost in the 60-meter hurdles this season. Her top time of 8.92, run in her first collegiate race at the Purdue Open, qualifies her for conference competition. Gunn can combine with Tameisha King, Notre Dame’s top hurdler from 2001, to give the Irish some scoring threats at the conference meet.

The Michigan State meet also handed the Irish women victories in the distance races, as freshman cross country All-American Lauren King blew away the competition with a 2:13.35 win in the 800 meters.

Teammates Jen Handley and Megan Johnson easily dominated the 3,000 and the mile, respectively, against the Spartans.

Women’s field events have posted similarly successful marks. Against Michigan State, the Irish women swept the top three spots in the high jump, with Jennifer Kearney and Kim Utterson tying for first (1.62m), and Kaitlin Meiser following right behind. Jill Van Weelden and Jaime Wolkmer are both strong contenders in the pole vault, and Volkmer also sports a season-high triple jump score of 11.66m against Michigan State that handed her first place.

The Meyo Mile:

Once again, the Meyo Mile will be run at this year’s Meyo Invitational. The Meyo track in Loftus Sports Center, the site of this weekend’s meet, has built a reputation as one of the fastest tracks in the Midwest. An oversized oval, the Meyo Track features long backstretch and gentle curves, giving both distance and sprint runners a perfect environment.

In the Meyo Mile, many of the top mile runners in the Midwest, and the nation, gather to pursue the sub-four minute mile.

A glance at the Meyo Mile winners over the last five years shows that the field can bring out the best in the runners competing.


1. Chris Miltenberg, G’Town, 4:02.22


1. Jay Cantin, Michigan, 3:59.90

Luke Watson, Notre Dame, 4:06.75


Tim Broe, Alabama, 3:59.38

Antonio Arce, Notre Dame, 4:05.87

Ryan Shay, Notre Dame, 4:14.53


Kevin Sullivan, Michigan, 3:56.08

Paul McMullen, Unatt., 3:56.63

Jason Rexing, Notre Dame, 4:04.22


Don McLaughlin, Michigan, 4:04.90

Notre Dame will feature two runners in the Meyo Mile this season. Senior Sean Zanderson, fresh off an impressive 4:13.12 just a week ago in the mile vs. Michigan State, will be in the field along with sophomore Kevin Somok.

2002 Meyo Invitational

Tentative Order of Events

Friday, Feb. 1

6:00 p.m. 20lb/30lb weight (women – then men to follow)

6:00 p.m. Women’s pole vault

6:00 p.m. Long Jump (men – women to follow)

7:00 p.m. Women’s 5,000 meters

7:20 p.m. Men’s 5,000 meters (I)

7:40 p.m. Men’s 5,000 mters (II)

8:00 p.m. Women’s DMR

8:15 p.m. Men’ DMR

Saturday, Feb. 2

10:30 a.m. Triple Jump (women – men to follow)

11:00 a.m. Shot Put (men – women to follow)

11:30 a.m. Men’s 3,000 meters (I)

12:00 p.m. Men’s Pole Vault

12:00 p.m. High Jump (women – men to follow)

12:00 p.m. Women’s 60-m hurdle trials

12:15 p.m. Men’s 60-m hurdle trials

12:35 p.m. Women’s 60-m dash trials

12:50 p.m. Men’s 60-m dash trials

1:05 p.m. Women’s 3,000 meters

1:20 p.m. Men’s 3,000 meters (II)

1:35 p.m. Women’s 60-m hurdle finals

Men’s 60-m hurdle finals

1:50 p.m. Women’s 60-m dash finals

Men’s 60-m dash finals

2:05 p.m. Meyo Mile

2:15 p.m. Women’s Mile

2:30 p.m. Men’s Mile

2:45 p.m. Women’s 400 meters

3:00 p.m. Men’s 400 meters

3:25 p.m. Women’s 800 meters

3:40 p.m. Men’s 800 meters

3:55 p.m. Women’s 500 meters

4:05 p.m. Men’s 500 meters

4:15 p.m. Women’s 200 meters

4:30 p.m. Men’s 200 meters

4:45 p.m. Women’s 1,000 meters

4:50 p.m. Men’s 1,000 meters

4:55 p.m. Women’s 4×440-yard Relay

5:00 p.m. Men’s 4×440-yard Relay