Notre Dame Track & Field Archives

1997 Outlook

In its inaugural season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference,Notre Dame’s men’s track team came away with two third-placeshowings in the BIG EAST indoor and outdoor championships. Headcoach Joe Piane, in his 22nd year at the helm, has his sightsset on a higher finish with a solid group of returners and atalented freshman class. “We were pleased with third place lastseason,” says Piane. “At the same time, we know that we can beeven more competitive in the conference this season and we willbe working on higher scores in the 1997 track season.”


Troy Langevine (Scarborough, Ontario) enters his senior seasonas the most experienced Irish sprinter. “Troy has had a greatsummer of training and will be a big contributor in his senioryear,” says sprints and hurdles coach John Millar. “We willreally need him to be a scorer for us.” Junior Danny Payton (LasVegas, Nev.) looks to return to the track after not competing in1996. He gave the Irish some impressive results as a freshmanin 1995 in the 400 meters. Payton was a double winner in theoutdoor season and ran a season best 47.47 at the CentralCollegiates. “Danny Payton has the potential to qualify for theNCAA championships,” says Millar. “He will surely help us thisyear, particularly in the BIG EAST meets in both the 400 and 800meters and in the mile relay.” Millar is also expecting reliableresults from freshman Chris Cochran (Crystal Lake, Ill.) whocomes to Notre Dame as two-time all-state selection and trackathlete of the year at Crystal Lake High School. “Chris Cochrancan be someone who can help us out in the 400 meters thisyears,” says Millar. The Irish will also look to the gridironfor more sprinters. Track All-Americans Randy Kinder and AllenRossum and Bobby Brown are the trio of football players thatMillar is counting on. “Obviously, the addition of thesefootball players would be a tremendous boost to our team,” saysMillar who is entering his seventh year as sprints and hurdlescoach. “They would certainly help us to be more competitive.”Kinder (East Lansing, Mich.) will look to rejoin the team afternot competing in 1995 and 1996. He set a Notre Dame indoorrecord in the 200 meters when he ran a 20.11 in a 1994 dual meetversus Drake. Kinder went on to earn All-America honors in 1994at the NCAA indoor championships when he finished 10th in the200 meters. Rossum (Dallas, Texas) did not compete in 1996 butwas an All-America in 1995. As the only freshman to make thefinals, he finished seventh at the NCAA indoor championships inthe 55 meters with a time of 6.29. Rossum ran his fastest timeof 6.23 in winning the 55 meters at the MCC championships. Brown(Lauderhill, Fla.) saw limited time last season as a freshmanbut was promising as he ran in the 400 meters in 49.91 at theCannon IV Classic.


Junior Errol Williams (Lauderhill, Fla.) should star once againfor the Irish in the hurdle events. Williams finished fifth inthe 55-meter hurdles indoors and eighth in the 400-meter hurdlesoutdoors at the BIG EAST championships. He ran his best55-meter hurdles at the Butler Open in 7.30, just off the schoolrecord of 7.29 set in 1987 by Glenn Watson. “Errol Williams isvery good at the 100-meter hurdles,” says Millar. “We are goingto put more emphasis on the 400-meter hurdles because he can bevery, very good at that event. He is really looking forward tonext year. Errol has the potential to qualify for the NCAAchampionships in both the 100 and 400-meter hurdles.” Alsohelping out at the hurdle events will be junior Kevin Reher(Sarasota, Fla.). Reher has impressed Millar with his workeffort. He cut .20 seconds off his time in the 55-meter hurdlesfrom his freshman year to his sophomore year. Reher had hisbest time of 7.60 in the 55-meter hurdles with a fifth-placeshowing at the Butler Open. “Kevin Reher has done a great jobimproving every year,” says Millar. “He will be a solid backupto Errol Williams and will also give us depth in the 200meters.”

Middle Distance

Senior Jeff Hojnaki (Solon, Ohio) will carry the load in themiddle distance races once again in 1997. Hojnaki was the BIGEAST indoor champion in 1996 in the 1000 meters with a time of2:27.39. He also captured the 1000 meters at the MeyoInvitational with a season-best time of 2:26.32. In the outdoorseason, Hojnaki had two second-place finishes in the 800 metersat the Miami Invitational and the Stanford Invitational where heran a season-best time of 1:50.49. Hojnaki won the 1500 metersat the Miami Invitational with a time of 3:51.22. “Jeff hasreally been one of our most consistent middle-distance runnersover the last couple of years,” says Piane. “We are counting onhim to continue to give us these good results that we have cometo expect from Jeff.” Also expected to contribute in the middledistances are sophomores Dan Ambrico (Altamonte Springs, Fla.),Tim Mousaw (Queensbury, N.Y.) and freshman Phil Mishka (Toledo,Ohio).


The talented group of runners that make up the cross countryteam should transfer their efforts to the oval and give NotreDame a solid group of distance runners once again. “In track, ifwe are going to do well in the BIG EAST championships and berepresented in the NCAAs, we will need our distance runners toproduce major contributions,” says Piane. Junior Jason Rexing(Pickerington, Ohio) returns this year after becoming NotreDame’s second consecutive All-American in the 10,000 meters,after Mike McWilliams earned the same honors in 1995. Rexingfinished 13th at the NCAA outdoor championships in a time of30:12.09. He was also honored at the BIG EAST outdoorchampionships as the meet’s most outstanding performer bywinning both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter titles. Rexing also wonthe 5,000 meters at the BIG EAST indoor championships. SeniorsMatt Althoff (Yankton, S.D.), Joe Dunlop (Grand Island, N.Y.)and Derek Seiling (Allison Park, Pa.) should give the Irish morehigh finishes. Althoff placed fifth and sixth in the 5,000meters at the BIG EAST indoor and outdoor championships,respectively. Dunlop placed ninth in the 5,000 meters at theBIG EAST indoor championships. Seiling was sixth in the 3,000meters at the BIG EAST indoor championships and fifth in theoutdoor conference meet in the steeplechase. Field Events

Notre Dame seniors Dave Gerrity (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and MikeFleisch (Milwaukee, Wisc.) return for the field events afterposting some impressive results in 1996. Gerrity set a schoolrecord in the pole vault on his way to winning the BIG EASToutdoor title. Gerrity vaulted 16-10.75 to shatter the oldoutdoor school mark of 16-6 by Paul Doyle set back in 1982. Healso placed second at the IC4A championships with a vault of16-8.75. “Last year, Dave Gerrity really showed the improvementsthat he had made in the off season,” says jumping and throwingcoach Scott Winsor. “He should be even more improved this yearand should now challenge the indoor pole vault school record.”Notre Dame also will have the services of sophomore MichaelBrown (Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.). Brown highlighted his firstseason with a third-place showing at the BIG EAST championshipsby recording the best Irish pole vault in the indoor season at16-2.75. He added two second places in the outdoor season aswell. Another BIG EAST champion, Fleisch will return for a fifthyear in the shot put in the outdoor season. He set the BIG EASTrecord of 59-6.25 on his way to the indoor BIG EAST title, inaddition to winning the Meyo Invitational, the Butler Open andthe DePaul Invitational. Fleisch qualified for the NCAAchampionships and despite dislocating his shoulder the daybefore the competition, he nearly made the finals as he finished13th with a season-high throw of 59-11.5. Another specialist inthe throws, junior Jay Hofner (Wheaton, Ill.) should give NotreDame more quality performances like he displayed in 1996. Hofner finished sixth in the hammer throw in the outdoor seasonwith a season-long throw of 166-4. He also registered three top10 results in the indoor season in the 35 lb. weight throw.Junior Chris Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) impressed the coaches ayear ago with his dramatic improvements in the javelin. Smithwon two events last year at the Miami Invitational and theMichigan State Sports Festival with a season-best throw of191-11. He also took third in the javelin at the BIG EASTchampionships. “Chris Smith was really a pleasant surprise forus last year,” says Winsor. “He is a perfect example of howtalent along with hard work can produce great results.” JuniorDan Frigo (Downers Grove, Ill.) should be Notre Dame’s top highjumper and sophomore Scott Schargen (Staten Island, N.Y.) willhelp Notre Dame in the multi-events with his throws. After thegraduation of Lamarr Justice, Winsor will be looking to freshmanMarshaun West (Sikeston, Mo.) in the horizontal jumps. “MarshaunWest will help us tremendously in the horizontal jumps,” saysWinsor. “He has long jumped 24-2 in the past so he willcontribute immediately.”