Feb. 8, 2003
In what might turn out to be the greatest mile race in the world this season, University of Notre Dame senior Luke Watson came through with a spectacular victory and set a new school record by out-gunning a talented group of runners at the 2003 Meyo Invitational in Loftus Sports Center Saturday afternoon.
The Meyo Mile was expected to be a great race, but nobody expected a performance of this magnitude. Watson finished in 3:57.83 and led a group of runners that posted the five fastest times in the world this season. Four of the runners will move on to the NCAA Championship with their automatic qualifying times.
Watson’s 3:57.83 effort is just the second sub-four minute mile ever run by a Notre Dame athlete. Chuck Aragon accomplished the feat in 1981 when he crossed the finish line in 3:59.9.
“It is something that every runner aspires to do,” Watson said after his victory lap around a packed and energized Loftus crowd.
“This program has a great history and Chuck Aragon’s mile record has always been a goal for everyone to reach. I was able to get into the flow of the race and not worry about my time splits. I knew that if I could just win the race, I would be under four minutes.”
Watson is now the Notre Dame record holder in four events, including the indoor 3,000 meters in which he has already qualified for a spot at the NCAA Championship this year. He finished ahead of Michigan’s Nathan Brannen (3:57.96), Eastern Michigan’s Boaz Cheboiywo (3:58.07), Michigan’s Nick Willis (3:58.15), and Ian Connor from Nike (3:58.24).
Watson stayed at the back of the lead pack for almost half the race, keeping pace with Cheboiywo. Cheboiywo eventually picked up the pace in the last two laps and Watson moved up among the leader, eventually taking the lead in just the last 30 meters of the race.
“What a great race,” Notre Dame head track and field coach Joe Piane said.
“You might never see something like that again. All of the collegiate runners in that race might move on to compete at the NCAA Championship. To see the five fastest mile times in the world in just one race is unbelievable.”
The Meyo Mile has been a tradition at Notre Dame since the Meyo Invitational began in 1989. Historically, many athletes have used the elite field to break the coveted sub-four minute mile barrier.
“The talent in the field is a huge factor,” Watson said.
“It is almost impossible to run under four minutes on your own. You need to have someone to run with.”
Watson know owns both the indoor and outdoor mile records at Notre Dame. He ran 4:00.68 at the Minnesota Distance Classic in June of 2002.
Meyo Mile results:
1. Luke Watson, Notre Dame, 3:57.83
2. Nathan Brannen, Michigan, 3:57.96
3. Boaz Cheboiywo, Eastern Michigan, 3:58.07
4. Nick Willis, Michigan, 3:58.15
5. Ian Connor, Nike, 3:58.24
6. Gavin Thompson, Eastern Michigan, 4:00.41
7. Jordan Desilets, Eastern Michigan, 4:01.37
8. Eric Morrison, Notre Dame, 4:01.90
9. Kurt Michaelis, Youngstown, 4:02.71
10. Kevin Somok, Notre Dame, 4:03.82
11. Alex L’Heureux, Michigan, 4:04.40