Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Track And Field Earns Three Individual BIG EAST Titles

May 1, 2004

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams completed competition on the first full day of the 2004 BIG EAST Outdoor Championship on Saturday at Rutgers. Irish competitors brought home three BIG EAST individual titles, while the men are in a strong position to contend for the team title.

The Irish men are in second place with 56.5 points, behind the day one leader Rutgers (78.5 points). Bolstered by BIG EAST Championships from senior Godwin Mbagwu (long jump) and junior Ryan Johnson (3,000-meter steeplechase), the Notre Dame men also have a number of top qualifiers entering day two on Sunday.

The Irish women sit in seventh place with 22 points, behind the day one leader Miami (47 points). Laura Huarte won her first individual BIG EAST title on Saturday in the pole vault, clearing 3.75m (12-3 1/2) to earn 10 of Notre Dame’s team points on the first day. Huarte also finished fourth in the javelin throw – just missing out on all-BIG EAST honors.


Mbagwu’s victory is the senior’s second career BIG EAST title and he will be looking for a third – as he enters Sunday with the top qualification in the triple jump. Mbagwu leaped 7.68m (25-2 1/2) to qualify for the NCAA Regional meet. The 7.68m effort is the seventh-best outdoor long jump in school history.

Johnson’s win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase is the first BIG EAST title of his career. He beat his closest competitor by three seconds, finishing in 9:08.64.

Senior Todd Mobley and sophomore Kaleb Van Ort finished second and third, respectively, in the 10,000 meters to earn all-conference honors. Mobley finished the race in 30:46.50 (Georgetown’s Fleet Hower won in 30:43.59), while Van Ort finished in 30:58.93.

Junior Chris Staron earned all-conference honors for the second straight season in the high jump by clearing 2.07m (6-9 1/2) to finish third. T he men’s team will be in contention for the team championship on Sunday, as the Irish saw several of their athletes post top qualification times for the finals.

Junior Selim Nurudeen is the top qualifier in two events, posting a 21.18 effort in the 200 meters and a 13.98 time in the 110-meter hurdles. Nurudeen is looking for his third-straight 110-meter hurdle title on Sunday. Teammate Dwight Ellick (21.66) also qualified for the finals of the 200 meters by finishing eighth in the preliminaries. Senior Mark Barber will join Nurudeen in the 110-meter final race (14.90, seventh in the prelims) as will freshman Geoffrey Bennett (14.94, eighth).

Sophomore Ryan Postel goes into Sunday as the top qualifier in the 400 meters, qualifying for the NCAA Regional meet in the process. Postel crossed the finish line in 46.63.

Other final race qualifiers for the Irish men:

Thomas Chamney, seventh, 800 meters (1:50.24)

Kurt Benninger, third, 1,500 meters (3:50.84)

Eric Morrison, fourth, 1,500 meters (3:51.62)

Kevin Somok, sixth, 1,500 meters (3:51.68)

Vinnie Ambrico, 12th, 1,500 meters (3:52.50)

Napolean Suarez, second, 400-meter hurdles (54.09)

Mark Barber, fourth, 400-meter hurdles (54.29)


Huarte’s pole vault victory is just the second at the BIG EAST outdoor meet for the Irish women (Jaime Volkmer, 2000), but provides Notre Dame with the sixth-straight year with an all-BIG EAST performer in the event.

In other final races or field events for the Irish women on Saturday, sophomore Jean Marinangeli finished eighth in the 10,000 meters (37:32.75) while Jenny Walls (11:39.50) and Katie DeRusso (11;44.38) finished 16th and 17th, respectively, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Sophomore Meghan Horn contributed six points toward the team total on Sunday, finishing in the top eight in two events. She took fourth in the discus with a best throw of 45.59m (149-7) and also finished eighth in the shot put (13.46m, 44-2).

Final race qualifiers for the Irish women:

Maryann Erigha, eighth, 100 meters (11.90)

Kristen Dodd, fifth, 200 meters (24.08)

Maryann Erigha, sixth, 200 meters (24.15)

Tiffany Gunn, fifth, 400-meter hurdles (1:00.89)