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Track And Field Teams Have BIG EAST Championships On Their Mind

May 1, 2003

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The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams are off to Storrs, Conn., for this weekend’s 2003 BIG EAST Outdoor Championship. The men are coming off their first-ever indoor title earlier this season and the women finished second – giving both teams a legitimate shot at the titles this weekend.

Competition begins Friday at noon with the heptathlon and decathlon.

Latest Trackwire 25 previews this weekend’s women’s title race: The latest Trackwire women’s 25 released on April 28 ranked two BIG EAST squads; Miami and Notre Dame. The Hurricanes were tied for 19th in the poll, while the Irish came in tied at 24th.

The Trackwire women’s 25: 1. LSU, 2. South Carolina, 3. Texas, 4. UCLA, 5. USC, 6. North Carolina, 7. Auburn, 8t. Stanford, 8t. Florida, 10. Nebraska, 11. Florida State, 12. BYU, 13., Indiana, 14t. Yale, 14t. Oregon, 14t. Northern Arizona, 17. Rice, 18. Washington State, 19t. Kansas State, 19t. Cal Poly, 19t. NC State, 19t. Miami, 19t, Akron, 24t. SMU, 24t. Notre Dame, 24t Arkansas.

Notre Dame men’s team looking to become first Irish squad to win both conference titles in the same year:

Notre Dame’s first men’s indoor BIG EAST title earned back in February gives the group an opportunity to become the first Irish team to win both the indoor and outdoor meets in the same season. The women’s team just missed out on the feat last season, claiming the indoor title and finishing second in the outdoor meet.

Notre Dame’s BIG EAST outdoor meet history:

Notre Dame has been competing in the BIG EAST Conference outdoor championship since 1996. The men’s team has always been among the contenders for the title, finishing in the top five five out of the last six seasons. The men won their first outdoor title in 2000.

The women have come a long way since their 13th and 12th finishes in 1996 and 1998, respectively, finishing in the top three the last four years.

Individually, Liz Grow became the first women’s athlete to land the Outstanding Female Track Performer title in 2002 after winning the 400 meters and helping the 4×100-meter relay team to its second-straight crown. On the men’s side, current senior Luke Watson was named Most Outstanding Track Performer last season after winning the 5,000 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Marshaun West earned the same title in 1999 when he won the 200 meters and finishing second in the 100 meters.

Jason Rexing was the first Irish individual to land an outstanding athlete award in 1996, when he won the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.

BIG EAST outdoor meet preview:

Both Irish teams are looking to compete for the title this weekend, but the squads will be doing so in much different fashion. The men’s team won the indoor title this season with a huge contribution from the distance group making up for depth problems in the field events and sprint group. The women’s team, on the other hand, has enough depth spread through their entire roster to run away with the team crown this weekend.

Women’s preview, event by event:

The women’s title could be decided in the sprint category. Miami boasts the most talented group in the conference, but the Irish have enough depth to score points in each event.

100-meter hurdles: The women’s team hopes rest with one athlete in the 100-meter hurdles this weekend – 2003 BIG EAST 60-meter hurdle champion Tameisha King. King broke through for her first individual BIG EAST Championship at the indoor meet this season, just edging Miami’s Sharianne Lawson by .01 seconds at the finish line. Lawson enters this weekend’s meet with the top 100-meter hurdle time of 13.27, run in Austin, Texas. King is second on the BIG EAST list with 13.61.

100 meters: Kymia Love is the top Irish qualifier in the 100 meters with a 11.85 effort from the Tom Botts Invitational. She is currently fifth on the BIG EAST list, with teammates Tameisha King (eighth, 12.02) and Ayesha Boyd (ninth, 12.05).

Boyd has finished third in the 100 meters in the last two BIG EAST outdoor meets.

1,500 meters: Sophomore Lauren King enters the race as the favorite, posting a 4:16.43 at the Mt. SAC Relays. King finished second a year ago and is looking for her second BIG EAST title of the season after winning the mile run at the indoor meet.

Freshman Molly Huddle is currently second in the BIG EAST list with a 4:20.50 effort at the Stanford Invitational.

200 meters: Kymia Love is the top Irish qualifier, with a 23.68 effort at the Mt. SAC Relays. Love is currently fourth in the BIG EAST with that time. Ayesha Boyd (24.36, ninth) and Kristen Dodd (13th) also have the ability to move up and make the finals in the 200 meters.

400 meters: This is an event the Irish will look for important points to be scored. Love is the top qualifier again, though it has not been determined which sprint events she will enter. Love is fifth in the conference entering the meet (53.85) and teammate Kristen Dodd is right behind her in sixth (53.98). Both Irish athletes are looking to carry on the 400-meter tradition of former Irish star Liz Grow, who won the 400 meters in 2001 and 2002 at the BIG EAST outdoor meet.

400-meter hurdles: Tiffany Gunn carries the torch for the Irish in the 400 hurdles. She is eighth on the BIG EAST list (61.13) and hopes to make the finals to score valuable points for the Irish team.

800 meters: A middle distance race, Kerry Meagher will be one of the top Irish runners in this race. Meagher ran 2:10.78 back at the Alex Wilson Invitational and is 10th on the BIG EAST list.

3,000-meter steeplechase: A fairly new race in the women’s program, Emily Showman is the lone Irish qualifier running 11:15.30 at the Indy Relays. She enters the meet 10th on the BIG EAST list.

5,000 meters: Another race in which an Irish athlete will be the prohibitive favorite. Freshman Molly Huddle is coming off her American Junior record from the Mt. SAC Relays of 15:36.95 and is almost 38 seconds faster than the closest qualifier on the BIG EAST list. Huddle finished second in the 3,000 meters at the indoor meet in her rookie conference outing.

400-meter relay: This race should come down to the Hurricanes and Irish. Miami enters the meet with a conference-best time of 43.96, while the Irish are second in 44.73. Notre Dame is looking for their third-straight 4×100 title this season.

1600-meter relay: Once again, it is Notre Dame and Miami. The Hurricanes ran 3:30.74 at the Florida Relays, while Notre Dame is second with a 3:35.31 effort. The Irish hope to recover from a disappointing fourth place finish at the indoor meet in this event.

Heptathlon: Freshman Stacey Cowan should be among the league leaders, entering the meet with a 4,414-point effort from the Tom Botts Invitational. She is third on the BIG EAST list and finished fourth in the indoor pentathlon.

Long Jump: The Notre Dame school-record holder in the long jump for her entire career with the Irish, Tameisha King enters this weekend’s meet focused to win her first BIG EAST long jump title. She will be up against Sharianne Lawson again, just like in the 100-meter hurdles. King has the top qualification this year with a 6.37m leap at the Tom Botts Invitational. Lawson is right behind with a 6.33m measurement. Lawson finished third and King fourth at the indoor meet back in February.

Throws: There is only one name Irish fans need to know for the women’s throw group this weekend – freshman Megan Horn. Horn is seventh in the shot put (13.60m) and discus (43.13m) and will score valuable points for the Irish team total in both events. School-record holder Katie Duman (40.34m) and Lauren DellaVolpe (39.15m) are seventh and eighth in the javelin.

High Jump: One of the deepest events for the Irish, three-time all-BIG EAST and all-BIG EAST volleyball player Emily Loomis should be among the contenders for the title. Teammate and freshman Stacey Cowan (1.75m) is right there with Loomis at third on the BIG EAST list. Jennifer Kearney (1.65m) also has the ability to make the finals in the high jump.

Pole Vault: After three years of close calls at the indoor meet, senior Jaime Volkmer broke through for her first BIG EAST indoor pole vault title at this year’s indoor meet. She enters this weekend’s outdoor affair as the favorite. Volkmer is the defending outdoor pole vault champion. Teammates Jill VanWeelden and Laura Huarte have the ability to give the Irish a one-two-three sweep in this event.

Triple Jump: Freshman Petra Dankova exploded on the conference triple jump scene at the indoor meet. Dankova was injured for much of the indoor season and had to get a waiver to compete in the meet, but she proved she belonged with a third-place finish to earn all-BIG EAST honors. She is third on the BIG EAST outdoor list with a 12.52m effort at the Indy Relays last weekend. Jaime Volkmer (eighth, 11.87m) will also compete to get the Irish additional team points.

Men’s preview, event-by-event:

Notre Dame edged Connecticut at the BIG EAST indoor meet in February helped by a dominating performance from the distance group. The Huskies will have the added edge of competing on their home track for this weekend’s meet. The undermanned Irish sprint group will need to take advantage of every possible point this weekend, while the throws and talented distance group will need to carry most of the scoring load for Notre Dame to seize the outdoor title.

110-meter hurdles: Sophomore Selim Nurudeen is looking to win his second 110-meter hurdle title in as many attempts this weekend. Nurudeen won in 14.31 last season and enters the meet with the second-best time of 14.01, behind Rutger’s David Klics (13.98). Nurudeen has steadily improved his time throughout the season and looks to be in top form entering the BIG EAST Championship.

100 meters: Ryan Hurd (16th, 11.03) and James Scarborough (17th, 11.04) are the top qualifiers for the Irish in the 100 meters.

200 meters: A stronger event for Hurd, he is looking to qualify for the finals in the 200 meters. He finished sixth in the finals of the 200 meters at the indoor meet in February and has the sixth-best time in the conference entering this weekend’s meet. Selim Nurudeen (13th, 21.94) might also compete in the 200 meters.

400 meters: Freshman Ryan Postel (15th, 47.97) and sophomore Trevor McClain-Duer (20th, 48.53) are hoping to move up in the field and qualify for the finals to score some valuable team points. Postel finished ninth in the BIG EAST indoor 400 meters.

400-meter hurdles: Little-known Roberto Garcia has come from nowhere to be among the top qualifiers for Notre Dame this season. Garcia’s 51.97 effort at the Mt. SAC Relays is third in the conference, ahead of teammate Napolean Suarez (53.30). Mark Barber is also a threat in the 400-meter hurdles, giving the Irish three possible point scorers for the finals.

800 meters: Freshman Thomas Chamney is looking to earn all-BIG EAST honors in this event, boasting the fourth-fastest time in the field (1:49.55). Chamney is the top outdoor qualifier, however, as the three times above him on the BIG EAST list were run during the indoor season. Chamney ended up 11th in the prelims of the 800 meters at the indoor meet. Eric Morrison (1:51.18) and Colin Quinn (1:53.06) also will compete in the 800 meters.

1,500 meters: Eric Morrison enters the meet with the second-best time in the conference, running 3:44.16 at the Alex Wilson Invitational. Morrison posted an all-BIG EAST finish in the indoor mile this season and hopes to be joined in the finals by teammates Kevin Somok (3:48.48) and Vinnie Ambrico (3:51.58).

3,000-meter steeplechase: There is only one name you need to know for the BIG EAST steeplechase – Luke Watson. A two-time All-American in the outdoor steeple, Watson won the individual title in 2000. He has the top time in the conference this season (8:53.07), just ahead of Zach Sabatino and Tyler DeVault from West Virginia.

5,000 meters: Another event in which Watson enters as the favorite. His 13:38.73 effort from the Mt. SAC Relays is easily the best in the conference this season. He won last season’s outdoor 5,000-meter title. John Keane (14:16.53) should also be among the race leaders as well.

10,000 meters: Indoor 5,000-meter champions Tim Moore should move up and be among the favorites in the 10,000 meters this weekend. Moore’s Mt. SAC time of 29:40.23 is second-best in the conference this year. Marc Striowski (30:44.90), Brian Kerwin (30:48.20) and Kaleb Van Ort (30:50.20) give the Irish a deep group of competitors in the 10,000 meters.

400-meter relay: One of the overlooked factors from Notre Dame’s indoor team title was the performance of the Irish relay teams. The 4×400-meter and 4×800-meter teams both earned all-BIG EAST honors and Notre Dame will hope that pattern repeats this weekend. The 4×100-meter team enters the meet with the fifth-fastest time of 41.42 from the Tom Botts Invitational.

1600-meter relay: This could prove to be a stronger event for the Irish, although their qualification time is only sixth-best on the BIG EAST list (3:13.03).

3200-meter relay: Notre Dame’s outstanding depth in the 800 meters makes this one of it’s top relay events. The Irish have not run the 4×800-meter event since the BIG EAST indoor meet, however.

Throws: The Irish throws group has developed extremely well this year under first-year throws coach B.J. Linnenbrink. Notre Dame has a number of qualifiers capable of scoring important team points in all the implements. Juan Alba leads the way in the hammer throw with a 54.17 effort – which is fifth on the BIG EAST list. Chip Roberts (50.46m), Jason Davis (48.10m) and Brian Thornburg (47.62m) could all move on to the finals as well.

Alba is the team’s lone qualifier in the shot put (15.42m, eighth) and discus (49.90m, third). The javelin will feature Derek Goguen (58.95m, seventh).

Long Jump: Godwin Mbagwu and Tom Gibert carry the burden for Notre Dame in the long jump. Both have the ability to move on to the finals with a great jump and are currently 12th and 13th on the BIG EAST list.

Triple Jump: Mbagwu’s stronger event, the junior finished second in the indoor triple jump as a freshman and will need to regain that form to score Notre Dame any team points in the event.

High Jump: Notre Dame has two excellent high jumpers ready to compete for the conference title. Ryan Mineburg and Chris Staron have both cleared 2.07m this season. Staron finished fourth and Mineburg sixth at the indoor meet.

Notre Dame competitors: Here is a complete list of the Irish competitors making the trip to Storrs, Conn., for this weekend’s BIG EAST Championship.

Women’s team: Ayesha Boyd, Dee Dee Bryant, Tanya Cheatham, Stacey Cowan, Petra Dankova, Kristen Dodd, Kate Duman, Tricia Floyd, Tiffany Gunn, Jennifer Handley, Meghan Horn, Laura Huarte, Molly Huddle, Jennifer Kearney, Lauren King, Tameisha King, Betsy Lazzeri, Emily Loomis, Kymia Love, Stephanie Madia, Jean Marinangeli, Kerry Meagher, Emily Showman, Jill VanWeelden, Jaime Volkmer, Elizabeth Webster and Kelsey Wicks.

Men’s team: Juan Alba, David Alber, Vinnie Ambrico, AJ Andrassy, Mark Barber, James Bracken, Thomas Chamney, Jason Davis, Roberto Garcia, Tom Gilbert, Derek Goguen, Ryan Hurd, Ryan Johnson, John Keane, Scott Kelley, Brian Kerwin, Terry Lennon, Mike Madigan, Godwin Mbagwu, Ryan Mineburg, Tim Moore, Eric Morrison, Selim Nurudeen, Sean O’Donnell, Ryan Postel, Colin Quinn, Chip Roberts, Kevin Somok, Chris Staron, Marc Striowski, Napolean Suarez, Brian Thornburg, Kaleb Van Ort and Luke Watson.

Results: The BIG EAST Conference website,, will have results available after each day of competition. Notre Dame sports information also will have complete recaps available as soon as possible on