March 30, 2002

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams are literally spanning the country this weekend. Some competitors entered the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., others the Purdue Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., and still others the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.

When competition wrapped up on Saturday evening, a number of Irish athletes came away with impressive performances.

The Irish contingent at the Purdue Invitational was led by Katie Wales’ first-place effort in the 5,000 meters. Her 17:45.81 time is a new personal best for the distance specialist.

Freshman hurdler Selim Nurudeen continued to shine in the 110-meter hurdles, taking home second place in 14.60. The rookie has already established himself as one of the top outdoor hurdlers in the BIG EAST Conference in the early outdoor season. He also posted a top-10 finish in the 400-meter hurdles.

Senior Quill Redwine began his outdoor season in fine form, clearing 6-8 in the high jump to earn second place. He was not the only Irish field event specialist in the top five. Josh Heck took home fifth in the pole vault (14-11), Tom Gilbert finished fourth in the long jump (21-9) and Mike Madigan ended up fifth in the javelin (54.70m – 179-7).

Freshman Kate Duman had an immediate impact on the Irish record books in her first collegiate meet, tossing the javelin 38.58 meters (126-7) to break teammate Andre Duplechain’s school record. Duman finished second in the javelin competition.

Classmate Tiffany Gunn continued to show improvement in the hurdle events, posting two top five finishes in both distances. Her 14.68 time in the 100-meter hurdles earned her second place, while the 1:04.49 in the 400 hurdles placed her fifth.

Ana Morales rounded out the top-five finishes for the Irish in West Lafayette, taking fifth place in the 800 meters (2:17.40).

At the Florida Relays, the Irish have sent their talented women’s sprint corps into action. The group of Liz Grow, Kristen Dodd, Tameisha King, Ayesha Boyd and Kymia Love are concentrating on the 4×100 and 4×400 races this weekend. Unfortunately, those results were not available at the time of this release. They will be posted as soon as possible. Betsy Lazzeri did compete in the heptathlon at the Florida Relays and finished in 10th place with 4,463 points, just one point out of ninth place. Lazzeri’s 4,463 point-total is a new school record, eclipsing the 4,390 Emily Bienko posted in 1999.

Out in Palo Alto, the Irish distance team made their presence known to the nation. Senior All-American Ryan Shay, looking to defend his 10,000-meter NCAA title from a year ago, started the 2002 outdoor season in style with a 28:39.41 time. He finished second to Chris Graff from the Nike Farm Team, but qualified as the first collegian across the finish line. Shay’s time assures the senior of a spot in the field at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Baton Rouge, La., on May 29 and June 1.

Shay will be joined at the NCAA meet by Luke Watson. Watson posted another impressive 5,000-meter time after earning All-America honors at the NCAA indoor meet just a month ago. Watson finished sixth in the highly-competitive field (the second collegian across the line) in 13:44.92, smashing his personal-best outdoor 5,000 effort and setting a school record in the process. That time also is an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championship.

Sophomore Todd Mobley is looking to earn a spot in the NCAA field as well. His 29:11.35 time in the 10,000 meters (21st place) is a consideration time for the 10,000 field at the NCAA meet.

Jennifer Handley made sure the men’s distance team did not dominate all the headlines, as the junior from Barrie, Ontario, took 10th place in the 5,000 meters with a personal-best time. Her 16:28.55 effort is a full 12 seconds under her previous fastest time in the 5,000, and is also a consideration time for the NCAA Championship meet.

The outdoor season continue next week when the Irish teams get to race at home. The Spring Opener is set for Moose Krause Stadium on Saturday, April 6. Events will start at 9 a.m.