March 18, 2006
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Notre Dame track & field teams kicked off the outdoor portion of their 2006 schedules in fine fashion Saturday at the Cal Poly Invitational in San Luis Obispo, Calif., combining for eight victories, 18 BIG EAST Championship qualifying marks and two NCAA Mideast Regional performances, not to mention six personal bests and one school record.
Junior Maryann Erigha (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee) was a double winner for the Irish, earning titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Her 100-meter time of 11.66 seconds was not only the 10th-fastest in school history, but also easily qualified her for both the conference and regional meets. In addition, she booked a BIG EAST spot in the 200 meters with her winning time of 24.05 seconds.
Senior Laura Huarte (Shingle Springs, Calif./St. Francis) etched her place in the Notre Dame record books, placing second in the javelin throw with a school-record toss of 146-9 (44.73 meters) to shatter the previous mark by nearly four feet (Kate Duman – 142-11 at the 2005 Dr. Pepper Invitational in Waco, Texas). Like Erigha, Huarte qualified for both the conference and Mideast Regional meets with her effort on Saturday.
Among the other individual winners (and subsequent BIG EAST qualifiers) for the Irish at the Cal Poly Invitational were: senior Ryan Postel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) in the 400-meter dash (47.51), junior Christopher Jacques (Old Brookville, N.Y./Chaminade) in the long jump (22-11/6.99m – tied), junior Okechi Ogbuokiri (Willingboro, N.J./Willingboro) in the 400-meter dash (56.60), sophomore Austin Wechter (Shelby, Ohio/Shelby) in the 400-meter hurdles (a personal-best 54.12) and freshman Kate Mattoon (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) in the pole vault (12-0/3.66m – tie-ninth in school history). The men’s 4×400-meter relay team also claimed victory in a time of 3:15.23.
Besides Huarte, Notre Dame earned five other runner-up finishes at Cal Poly, led by freshman Blair Majcina (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), who actually shared top honors in the high jump at 6-7.75 (2.03m), but ended up second based on a fewer-misses tiebreak. Other runners-up (and more BIG EAST qualifiers) for the Irish included: Postel in the 200-meter dash (personal-best 21.41), senior Meghan Horn (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) in the shot put (42-9.75/13.05m), junior Garet Koxlien (Galesville, Wis./Galesville-Ettrick-Trempeleau) in the discus (personal-best 169-0.25/51.52m) and sophomore Kyle Annen (Orofino, Idaho/Orofino) in the hammer throw (176-6/53.80m).
Ogbuokiri had the lone third-place finish for the Irish, following closely behind her teammate Erigha in the 200-meter dash in 24.82 seconds. Meanwhile, Horn tacked on a second BIG EAST qualification outing in the discus with a sixth-place finish (131-6.5/40.10m), and freshman Anna Weber (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) also was a double conference qualifier, hitting the standard in both the shot put (fourth place – 41-3.25/12.58m) and hammer throw (sixth place – 147-8.75/45.03m). In addition, Koxlien earned a second BIG EAST invitation with his personal-best outing in the hammer throw, coming in fifth with a top toss of 169-1.5 (51.55m).
Notre Dame will be back in action next week down in Tucson, Ariz., with three days of competition. On Thursday and Friday (March 23-24), the Irish will take part in the Wildcat Combined Events meet on the University of Arizona campus, before the rest of the team gets going Saturday (March 25) at the Jim Click Shootout, also hosted by Arizona at Drachman Stadium.
— ND —