Feb. 26, 2003
Irish going through their final training regiments for the Alex Wilson Invitational:
The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams, fresh off the BIG EAST Championship last weekend, are preparing for the final indoor home meet of the 2002-03 season. The Irish will host a number of top athletes from across the country at the Alex Wilson Invitational – one of the premier ‘last chance’ meets in the country. The Alex Wilson Invitational is scheduled for Friday, March 7 and Saturday, March 8 in the Loftus Sports Center on Notre Dame’s campus.
Notre Dame men’s team basking in the glory of their first indoor team title:
After finishing either second or third at every BIG EAST Indoor Championship since 1996, the Notre Dame men’s track and field team broke through for its first team title at the league meet last weekend. It was a fine showing for the Notre Dame men, who edged Connecticut 114-101 in the team standings. Head coach Joe Piane, along with assistants Tim Connelly, John Millar, Scott Winsor and B.J. Linnenbrink, were named the 2003 BIG EAST Men’s Coaching Staff of the Year.
Here is a breakdown of how the Irish claimed the team title –
For the Irish to win the team title, they knew that the distance group would carry most of the burden for scoring points. A couple sprinters, however came through with some points for the men. Sophomore Selim Nurudeen finished eighth in the 60 meters with a 7.00 effort. Nurudeen also grabbed eight more points in his specialty, the 60-meter hurdles by finishing second to earn all-BIG EAST honors. He finished .03 seconds behind the winner, David Klics from Rutgers. Teammate Mark Barber also stepped up in the hurdles, moving on to the finals and finishing seventh to score two points toward the Irish total.
Junior Ryan Hurd ran well in the 200 meters, moving on to the finals and eventually finishing sixth (22.03). Hurd, who has steadily improved each season with the Irish, advanced to the finals at the BIG EAST Championship for the first time.
Sophomore Trevor McClain-Duer scored two points for ND in the 500 meters, finishing seventh in 1:05.26. Eight crucial points were also garnered by a solid effort by the 4×400 relay team of Ryan Postel, Mc-Clain Duer, Hurd and Barber. The team finished second in 3:15.85. The other relay team also scored, as the 4×800 squad of Somok, Colin Quinn, Thomas Chamney and Eric Morrison finished third in 7:39.61.
Not to be out done, the distance medley relay team played their part. Ambrico, Postel, Somok and Morrison took third place in 10:00.55.
Moving up to the distance group, the Irish strength started to show. Luke Watson, favored to win the mile entering the meet, came through for his first indoor BIG EAST Championship in that very event – finishing first in 4:12.85. Sophomore Eric Morrison earned all-BIG EAST honors by finishing third in the mile (4:14.71) and Sean O’Donnell came through for an impressive fourth-place finish (4:16.59). Rookie Vinnie Ambrico also scored in the mile, finishing sixth in 4:17.04. All told, the Irish scored a whopping 24 team points in the mile competition.
Notre Dame did not advance a runner to the finals of the 800 meters, but junior Kevin Somok grabbed fourth place in the finals of the 1,000 meters (2:28.47) to score five points. The 3,000 meters was next, and the Irish distance depth came through once again. Watson finished second (8:15.55) behind Villanova’s Adrian Blincoe, but was followed by Tim Moore in third (8:16.83) and John Keane (8:17.58) in fourth. That gave the Irish 19 team points.
Moore and Keane came through in the 5,000 meters as well. Moore grabbed a individual title in his first BIG EAST meet, easily winning the 5,000 meters in 14:26.78. Keane took third in 14:34.99.
The field events provided some valuable points as well. Sophomore Chris Staron finished fourth with a 2.01m clearance, while Ryan Mineburg was sixth with a 1.96m effort. Chip Roberts also scored a point in the weight throw with a 14.79m eight-place effort.
Rounding out the men’s scoring effort, Mark Barber finished sixth in the pentathlon with 3,533 points. Barber finished second in the 1,000 meters, third in the 60-meter hurdles, fourth in the high jump and third in the long jump.
Women’s BIG EAST indoor recap:
The women entered the meet knowing that Miami would be their main competition for the top spot in the team standings. The Hurricanes eventually out-dueled the Irish 147.5 – 115, but a number of Irish athletes posted some memorable performances.
Senior Jaime Volkmer, a three-time runner up in the indoor pole vault at the BIG EAST meet, finally got her individual title with an impressive performance. Volkmer broke her own school record, and the BIG EAST indoor meet record, by clearing 4.00m (13-1 1/2). She continues her string of firsts, as Volkmer was the first Irish women’s pole vaulter to clear 12-0 and has now gone over 13-0. Her 4.00m effort might also make her the first Irish women’s pole vaulter to appear in the NCAA Championship. That 4.00m mark will put her anywhere between 12th and 15th in the country as of Feb. 25.
Kymia Love ended up finishing second in the 400 meters to earn all-BIG EAST honors after posting the fastest preliminary time. Love also scored for Notre Dame in the 60 meters by finishing fourth (7.59).
Lauren King earned her first of two BIG EAST titles during the meet in the mile run, easily taking the field in 4:46.90. King also was a member of the victorious distance medley relay team who set a meet record in 11:24.45. King was joined on the DMR team by sophomore Tricia Floyd, junior Megan Johnson and freshman Molly Huddle.
Huddle was back on the track for the 3,000 meters and earned all-BIG EAST honors with a second-place finish (9:18.24) behind West Virginia’s Megan Metcalfe.
Over on the short track, senior Tameisha King grabbed her first individual BIG EAST indoor title with a solid 8.39 effort in the 60-meter hurdles. King came back from an 8.58 qualifying time to defeat Miami’s Sharianne Lawson by .01 seconds in the finals.
Sophomore two-sport star Emily Loomis continued her impressive career in the high jump, earning all-BIG EAST honors for the third-straight conference meet by clearing 1.79m (5-10 1/2) to finish second. She was joined in the scoring column by Stacey Cowan (fourth, 1.73m) and Jennifer Kearney (sixth, 1.65m).
The Irish also got a surprise all-BIG EAST effort by freshman Petra Dankova in the triple jump. The Kladno, Czech Republic, native had been injured for much of the indoor season and needed a special waver from the BIG EAST Conference to compete in the championship. She proved that she belonged by finishing third with a 12.67m (41-7) school-record setting jump. Volkmer also scored in the triple jump with a 12.25m measurement.
Freshman Meghan Horn scored a team point in her first conference meet, finishing eighth in the shot put (13.82m, 45-4 1/4). Stacey Cowan also just missed out on all-BIG EAST honors in the pentathlon, finishing fourth with 3,315 points.
Irish shift focus from conference competition to national championship meet:
With a week left before their final home meet and two weeks before the NCAA Championship in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 14 and 15, the Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams are focused on putting their best effort out on the track at the Alex Wilson Invitational. A number of Irish athletes are fighting for a spot in the NCAA Championship field, while others are just hoping to strengthen their position.
As of Feb. 25, the last date the NCAA descending order list was posted, Kymia Love is in the running for appearances in the 200 meters and 400 meters. Her 23.88 effort in the 200 meters is ranked 18th and her 54.23 time is 22nd. Love will run during the Alex Wilson Invitational looking to improve those times.
In the 3,000 meters, freshman Molly Huddle hopes to contend for the national title. Her school-record 9:14.33 time from the Meyo Invitational is ranked fifth in the country. Lauren King will join Huddle in the 3,000-meter competition with a 9:19.52 automatic qualifier effort.
Another Irish ‘King’ will be in the NCAA Championship competition when senior Tameisha King enters the long jump. Her school-record 6.31m effort from the Central Michigan Opener is over six weeks old, but still ranked seventh in the nation.
Sophomore Emily Loomis, a volleyball stand out for Notre Dame and a three-time all-BIG EAST high jump performer, has put herself in consideration for a spot in the NCAA field. She cleared 1.79m at the BIG EAST indoor meet, a mark that puts her between 14th and 17th in the country. She will hope to improve that effort at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
Perhaps the story of the Notre Dame women’s indoor season is the progress that senior Jaime Volkmer has made in the pole vault. She has consistently broken her own school record this season and became the first Notre Dame women’s vaulter to clear 13-0 while winning the BIG EAST indoor pole vault title last week (4.00m). That mark puts her between 12th to 15th in the nation and might get her in the NCAA meet. Volkmer will jump at the Alex Wilson Invitational in an effort to assure her a spot in the NCAA Championship.
The men’s team is hoping that Selim Nurudeen’s 20th-ranked 7.83 time in the 60-meter hurdles will land him a spot in the NCAA Championship. Nurudeen should run at the Alex Wilson, looking to improve his time.
Luke Watson’s mile run from the Meyo Invitational still leads the country (3:57.83) and he will be most likely be joined in the competition by sophomore Eric Morrison (4:01.90). Morrison is currently sixth on the NCAA list.
Watson also is in the top 10 in the 3,000 meters (7:55.78) and will look to improve from his third-place finish in the 3,000 meters a year ago at the NCAA indoor meet.