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Series Of Near Misses For Irish At NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

March 15, 2003

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams picked up two more All-America honors on Saturday as the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships wrapped up at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark., on the campus of the University of Arkansas. However, it was some close calls that will have the Irish thirsting for more gold in the future.

Senior Luke Watson (Stillwater, Minn.) garnered his third indoor All-America designation, and the sixth All-America citation of his career by finishing third in the men’s mile with a time of 4:06.48. Watson found himself in a packed field, winding up just .02 seconds out of second place and only .78 seconds away from a national title. Still, it marks the second time in as many years Watson has placed third at the NCAA indoor meet — he took third in the 3,000-meter run last season.

Speaking of the 3,000 meters, Watson attempted to pull double duty and run in that race again this year. However, the strain of competing in three races in two days (he also ran in the mile preliminaries last night) took its toll, as Watson placed 11th with a time of 8:10.79.

On the women’s side, sophomore Lauren King (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) earned her first indoor All-America citation, and the third All-America honor of her career with her seventh-place finish in the women’s mile. Like Watson, King ran in a tightly-bunched field, clocking a time of 4:43.89 and finishing only two seconds out of a possible third-place showing.

Notre Dame also had a competitor in the women’s 3,000-meter run, as freshman Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y.) narrowly missed All-America honors with her ninth-place finish. Huddle was just .79 seconds away from eighth place and All-America consideration in her initial trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The Irish 4×400-meter relay team suffered the same fate as Huddle, placing ninth for the second year in a row with a time of 3:38.28. The quartet of sophomore Tiffany Gunn (Little Rock, Ark.), junior Kristen Dodd (Toledo, Ohio), sophomore Ayesha Boyd (Spartanburg, S.C.) and senior Kymia Love (Memphis, Tenn.) qualified for the NCAA meet last week at the Alex Wilson Invitational, and like Huddle, they were one second away from an eighth-place finish and All-America honors.

As a team, the Irish women tallied five points, matching their highest-ever point total at the NCAA meet, which was set last season. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame men logged six points, tying for the third-highest scoring output ever at the NCAA Championships — the school record is nine points, which also was achieved last year.

— ND —

2003 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships — Day 2
Men’s Mile – Final

3rd – Luke Watson (ND), 4:06.48
Men’s 3,000 meters – Final
11th – Luke Watson (ND), 8:10.79
Women’s Mile – Final
7th – Lauren King (ND), 4:43.89
Women’s 3,000 meters – Final
9th – Molly Huddle (ND), 9:20.30
Women’s 4×400-meter relay – Final
9th – Notre Dame, 3:38.28