April 21, 2002

The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams strengthened their national positions over the weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. The Relays are traditionally one of the top mid-season meets in the country and the Notre Dame representatives took advantage of the increased competition to post some improved season-best times and marks.

Three school records fell over the weekend, keyed by an impressive 4×100 relay effort from Tameisha King, Liz Grow, Ayesha Boyd and Kymia Love. They finished second in 44.30 to Team USA (A) and out-pushed Team USA (B) at the finish line. The 44.30 time is a season-best for the Irish and gets them closer to the 44.00 automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Championship. Taking into consideration the top times from around the nation entering the weekend, the Irish team could be among the top-five in the country when the new NCAA performance list is released later this week.

Boyd also competed individually at the Mt. SAC relays, winning the 100 meter race she competed in with a season-best time of 11.69. The 11.69 effort is the third-fastest in Notre Dame women’s track and field history.

The men’s distance group, led by the All-American duo of Luke Watson and Ryan Shay, also had a very successful meet. Shay entered one of the most competitive 5,000-meter fields of the 2002 outdoor season and accomplished his two goals – setting a new school record and qualifying for the NCAA Championship. Shay finished ninth in his 5,000 meter race over the weekend, but was the fourth collegiate runner across the line. The 13:35.08 time Shay posted breaks Watson’s 13:44.92 effort from the Stanford Invitational earlier this season. Shay will join his teammate in the 5,000 meter competition at the NCAA Championship in Baton Rouge, La., on May 29.

Watson concentrated on his outdoor specialty, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, at this weekend’s meet. After running a provisional qualifying time last week at the Tom Botts Invitational, Watson ran significantly faster with the competitive field this weekend, finishing fourth (second collegiate) in 8:38.20. That time breaks his own school record he set a year ago and assures him of a spot in the NCAA Championship in the steeplechase field as well as the 5,000 meters.

Megan Johnson posted Notre Dame’s additional individual victory, winning her 1500-meter race in 4:27.21.

Here is a list of the other Irish results from the Mt. SAC Relays:

Event – Athlete – Time/Mark – Place

Pole Vault – Jaime Volkmer – 3.50m – seventh

1500 meters – Lauren King – 4:23.47 – fifth

Long Jump – Tameisha King – 5.78m – fourth

110-meter hurdles – Selim Nurudeen – 14.33 – second

1500 meters – Kevin Somok – 3:49.31 – third

1500 meters – Pat Conway – 3:58.67 – 11th

400 meters – Kymia Love – 55.29 – fourth

400 meters – Kristend Dodd – 56.99 – sixth

5000 meters – Jennifer Handley – 16:42.47 – third