June 1, 2002
The University of Notre Dame women’s and men’s track and field teams completed the 2002 outdoor season with a noteworthy final day of activity at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday evening.
To begin the evening, freshman Lauren King took sixth place in the finals of the 1,500 meters, completing the race in a school record 4:16.85. King, who became the first Irish women’s track and field and cross country runner to appear in all three national meets in a freshman season (cross country, indoor and outdoor) couples this All-America honor with her 27th place finish in the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championship. UCLA’s Lena Nilsson won the 1,500 meters in 4:12.60.
Putting a fitting end to the season, the women’s 4×400 relay team capped an outstanding year by the Notre Dame women’s sprint corps by finishing fifth in the championship final race. The team of Liz Grow, Kristen Dodd, Ayesha Boyd and Kymia Love (shown in the relay order) broke their own school record in 3:32.12. South Carolina won the race in 3:26.46.
With the national championship meet completed, the Irish can take the opportunity to look back at what they accomplished both this weekend and throughout the entire 2001-02 cross country and track and field seasons. Eight Irish athletes earned All-America honors at the NCAA outdoor meet (Tameisha King in the long jump, Lauren King in the 1,500 meters, Ryan Shay in the 10,000 meters, Luke Watson in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Grow, Dodd, Love and Boyd in the 4×400 relay) adding to the total of eight from the cross country and indoor track and field seasons.
The total could have been much higher, but Shay and Watson (who were among the top qualifies in the 5,000 meters) were unable to run in the 5,000 on Sunday due to injuries suffered earlier in the meet. Shay has a tender calf, while Watson is still recovering from a fall in the steeplechase preliminaries (which affected his final race performance).
In the final team results from the NCAA outdoor meet, the men finished 24th with 10 points, while the women were 27th with nine points.