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Track And Field Looks To Strengthen Its NCAA Spots This Weekend

April 18, 2002

The weekend ahead:

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams will attend two different meets this weekend. One group will make the trip to Walnut, Calif., for the 2002 running of the Mt. SAC Relays. The other group will head south to Indianapolis, Ind., for Butler University’s Indy Invitational.

Several different athletes will be looking to either improve their NCAA positions or post automatic qualifying times at the Mt. SAC this weekend. As of April 17, a number of Irish athletes appeared on the NCAA performance lists for the 2002 Championship Meet in Baton Rouge, La., on May 29.

Ayesha Boyd is 14th in the 200 meters (23.60), Liz Grow is ninth in the 400 meters (53.14), Lauren King is eighth in the 1500 meters (4:22.89), Jennifer Handley is ninth in the 5,000 meters (16:28.55), Tameisha King, Grow, Boyd and Kristen Dodd are 11th in the 4×100 relay (44.70), King is fifth in the long jump (6.31m), Luke Watson is sixth in the steeplechase (8:50.68) and fourth in the 5000 (13:44.92), Ryan Shay is first in the 10000 (28:30.43) and Todd Mobley is 18th in the 10000 (29:11.35).

All these runners and jumpers will be in action at the Mt. SAC Relays. Watson has eyes on improving his steeplechase time (he competed in the steeplechase at the 2000 NCAA Championship), while Shay will go for a qualification time in the 5,000 meters, and perhaps regain his school record that Watson broke earlier this season.

On the women’s side, Grow has been getting faster each week in the 400 meters and is focused on improving her position in the nation’s top 10. Boyd, Dodd, Grow and Kymia Love also will run both relays, as the team has the ability to qualify in both the 4×100 and 4×400.

Tom Botts Invitational Recap:

The Notre Dame men’s track and field team returned home on Sunday, April 14, victorious after claiming first place in front of Missouri, Iowa State and Arkansas State at the Tom Botts Invitational in Columbia, Mo.. The men’s 213.5 total points secured first place seemingly without difficulty. The Irish women are not to be overlooked, as they placed second overall, with their collective 184.5 points just behind Missouri’s 201 points.

Tom Gilbert and Ryan Hurd brought home a combined 16 points for the Irish, as they took first and second, respectively, in the 100 meters. Hurd won the 200 meters, and his time of 21.78 ranks as his current season best. Right on his heels was teammate Mike Mansour, clocking in at 22.27 for second place. The men’s unprecedented success continued as the top-four of the 400 meters was dominated by the Irish, with Trevor McClain-Duer taking first (48.89), and Mansour finishing strong yet again with a third-place time (48.93).

Rookie Eric Morrison proved strong for the Irish, finishing second in the 800 meters with a 1:50.95 time. Morrison’s time is not only his personal best for the season, but also is the Irish leading 800 meters time thus far along in 2002 outdoor competition. Senior All-American Pat Conway was first across the line in the 1500 meters with a time of 3:50.78. Teammates Kevin Somok and Tom Lennon weren’t far behind, taking fourth (3:52.82) and fifth (3:53.78). Both Conway and Lennon walked away with personal best times for the season. Continuing the men’s mid-distance success was the duo of Todd Mobley and John Keane in the 5000 meters. Mobley’s 14:34.7 time put him in second, with Keane’s season personal-best 14:53.63 time rounding out the top three.

Selim Nurudeen proved yet again why he is one of the most talented freshmen on the Irish team, easily claiming first place in the 110-meter hurdles. The Irish cleaned up in the 400-meter hurdles, taking second, third, and fourth-place. Napolean Suarez led the powerful trio, finishing in 53.57 with Nurudeen in third (54.65) and Mark Barber closing up the pack in 55.05.

Pole-vaulter Josh Heck scored a season-best height of 4.73 meters over the weekend. Jumpers were in full form as Quill Redwine and Godwin Mbagwu both also finished with their best times of the season. Redwine took fourth with 2.04 meters in the high jump, and Mbagwu placed third with 14.18 meters in the triple jump.

Senior Derek Dyer came through in both the shot put and the discus throw, giving the Irish a total of 11 points thanks to his fourth-place shot put finish and third-place discus performance.

Solid showings in the hammer throw by Juan Alba (49.24 meters) and Chip Roberts (47.81 meters) also helped the men’s team on their way to victory.

No one even came close to challenging senior All-American Luke Watson in the 3000 meter steeplechase, as he won the event with an NCAA Provisional time of 8:50.68. David Alber also had an impressive 3000-meter performance, taking second with a 9:01.70 time.

Notre Dame dominance was clearly evident in the relays, as the Irish men swept both the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays. These two first-place finishes gave the team a combined 18 points. Sophomore Ayesha Boyd was the star of this weekend’s competition, leaving with two first-place victories. She took first in the 100 meters with a 11.73 time, and barely edged out teammate Liz Grow in the 200 meters with a 23.84 time. Grow was close behind in second in 23.90, and fellow standout sprinter Kymia Love closed off the top-three in 24.43.

Irish sprinters didn’t stop there, as Grow and Love took the top two spots in the 400 meters. Grow’s first-place time of 53.14 was an NCAA Provisional qualifier. Love also set a season personal best with her second-place time of 54.64.

Lauren King proved yet again why she is one of the Irish’s top runners, as the freshman won the 800 meters in 2:10.22.

The 1500 and 5000 meters are were also showcases of the Irish women’s distance talent. Megan Johnson and Jen Handley were a difficult duo to beat in the 1500, as they took second (4:26.24) and third (4:26.65). Jennifer Fibuch and Katie Wales pulled off a similar upset in the 5000, with Fibuch’s 17:37.60 time and Wales’ 17:40.70 time earning them second-and third-place. Tameisha King continued her successful season by earning two first-place finishes. Her 6.03 meter score in the long jump was hardly contested, and she effortlessly grabbed nine points for the Irish in the 100-meter hurdles. Freshman Tiffany Gunn also made hurdling headlines by taking first-place in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:02.59.

Yet again, the talents of Jill Van Weelden and Jamie Volkmer proved unbeatable in the pole vault. Van Weelden took first (3.55meters), and Volkmer took second (3.55 meters). Kat e Duman demonstrated her skill in the javelin throw, earning second-place with her throw of 38.07 meters.

The Notre Dame women’s 4×100-relay team mirrored the men’s success, easily taking first in 44.73.