March 6, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Fresh off its third BIG EAST Conference indoor title in the past five years, the Notre Dame men’s track & field team will send six of its athletes to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which are slated to take place Friday and Saturday at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. The six-man contingent is the largest ever sent by the Irish to the NCAA indoor meet, with Notre Dame previously having sent five men to indoor nationals on five occasions (1968, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006), including three of the four previous years. The best team finish for the Irish at the NCAA Indoor Championships came in 1965 at the meet’s inaugural running in Detroit, when Notre Dame tied for 10th place.
Senior 800-meter All-American Thomas Chamney (Tipperary, Ireland/St. Columba’s) leads the group of Notre Dame qualifiers, as he prepares to make his second consecutive trip to the NCAA indoor meet. Last year, Chamney finished sixth in the 800 meters (a feat he duplicated at last June’s NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.) and the Irish national will carry the second-fastest time in the field (1:47.82), not to mention the second-quickest in school history, into this year’s competition behind only Shaun Smith of Oral Roberts (1:47.80). Chamney recently won his second consecutive BIG EAST indoor 800-meter title and reached the semifinals in the event at last weekend’s European Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England.
Junior miler Jake Watson (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area) also has qualified for the NCAA indoor meet, with his time of 4:00.71 standing ninth in the field. Watson is making his first appearance at the indoor nationals and is seeking to join his brother, Luke, as the first pair of siblings to garner All-America honors in program history. Luke Watson was a six-time track All-American, in addition to earning two cross country citations. Jake Watson is coming off a third-place finish in the mile at last month’s BIG EAST Indoor Championships, picking up his first all-conference plaque in the process.
For the third consecutive year and fourth time in the past five campaigns, Notre Dame has successfully qualified its distance medley relay team for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Irish quartet booked its trip to Fayetteville by logging a season-best time of 9:35.71 (third-fastest in school history) at last weekend’s Alex Wilson Invitational. Recently, the DMR has been one of Notre Dame’s strongest events at the NCAA indoor meet, with the Irish placing in the top 10 five times since 1997, including program-best sixth-place finishes in 2000, 2005 and 2006.
Jake Watson could pull double duty as this weekend’s nationals, as he ran the anchor leg on Notre Dame’s DMR qualifier a week ago. Two returning veterans — junior John Cavanaugh (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph’s) and senior Ryan Postel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) — were key contributors on last year’s All-America DMR relay for the Irish, while senior Todd Ptacek (Benton Harbor, Mich./Lake Michigan Catholic) makes his NCAA meet debut this year. Junior Adam Currie (Verdun, Quebec/Richelieu Valley), who has run on Notre Dame’s distance medley relay teams at nationals the past two years, will serve as the squad’s alternate this time around.
All of the Irish participants will be in action Friday at the NCAA Indoor Championships, beginning at 4:45 p.m. (CT) when Chamney takes the track in the 800-meter preliminary heats. Jake Watson gets his chance at 7:05 p.m. (CT) in the preliminaries for the mile, with the distance medley relay final scheduled to go off at 9:35 p.m. (CT). Should they advance to the finals in their respective events, Watson would run Saturday at 6:25 p.m (CT), while Chamney would start 20 minutes later. All times are approximate and subject to change.
Complete results will be posted at the end of each day’s events on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com), as well as on the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000).
— ND —