Alyissa Hasan turned in a qualifying time of 13.91, which was also the 10th fastest time recorded in school history

Three Irish Athletes Earn All-America Honors At NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

March 15, 2008

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Alyissa Hasan (Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville South) broke the school record in the pentathlon and became Notre Dame’s first-ever multi-event All-American, highlighting a strong performance by Irish athletes at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which concluded Saturday night at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.

Hasan piled up 4,069 points, breaking her old school mark of 3,939 points that she set earlier this year at the Akron Open. She ended up ninth at the NCAA meet, and was one of the top eight U.S.-born finishers in the competition, securing her first career All-America certificate.

Senior Kurt Benninger (Chepstow, Ontario/Walkerton D.S.S.) added to his growing trophy case, garnering All-America status for the sixth time (fifth in track & field) with a fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter run (8:03.61). It’s the third time Benninger has come away with All-America honors during the indoor track season, having placed fourth in the mile in 2005 and anchoring the distance medley relay (DMR) team to a sixth-place showing in 2006. Benninger’s six combined All-America citations are third-most in Irish men’s track & field/cross country history behind only Ryan Shay (nine) and Luke Watson (eight). In addition, Benninger’s five track awards are tied for third in program annals behind Shay (seven) and Watson (six).

Senior Jake Watson (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area) was an All-American in the mile for the second consecutive season, improving to sixth on Saturday night (4:05.51) after a 10th-place outing last year. It’s the second time in as many NCAA indoor meets that a Notre Dame runner has won back-to-back All-America laurels — Thomas Chamney pulled off that feat in the 800-meter run during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Junior Patrick Smyth (Salt Lake City, Utah/Judge Memorial) also competed in the 3,000 meters, winding up 13th in the final in a time of 8:10.33. The Irish DMR unit also raced late Friday night, coming across in 10th place (9:45.41).

As a team, the Notre Dame men collected seven points for the meet (four from Benninger, three from Jake Watson), finishing in a tie for 36th place overall. The seven points are the fourth-highest total ever for the Irish at the NCAA Indoor Championships, while the 36th-place finish is the fifth top-40 showing in the past seven seasons for Notre Dame.

The Irish now will turn their attention towards preparing for the outdoor track & field season, which gets underway March 27-29. Notre Dame will send athletes to both the Arizona Multi-Events Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., as well as the Arizona State Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.

— ND —

2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
March 14-15, 2007
Fayetteville, Ark. (Randal Tyson Track Center)

NOTRE DAME PARTICIPANTS (* – All-America honoree)
Men’s mile final:
6. Jake Watson (ND)* 4:05.51
Men’s 3,000-meter final: 5. Kurt Benninger (ND)* 8:03.61; 13. Patrick Smyth (ND) 8:10.33
Men’s distance medley relay final: 10. Notre Dame 9:45.41
Women’s pentathlon: 9. Alyissa Hasan (ND)* 4,069 points (school record)

1. Arizona State 44; 2. Florida State 41; 3. Texas 34; 36. (tie) NOTRE DAME 7.
Women: 1. Arizona State 51; 2. LSU 43; 3. Michigan 39; –. NOTRE DAME 0.