Feb. 6, 2004
The 2004 Meyo Invitational began in its traditional spectacular fashion on Friday evening, as some of the top times in the nation were posted in the Loftus Sports Center on the University of Notre Dame’s campus. The evening was highlighted by a three automatic qualifying teams in the distance medley relay (DMR), five Irish athletes qualifying for the BIG EAST meet in the 5,000 meters and former Irish standout Tameisha King reclaiming her meet and track record in the long jump.
The Meyo Invitational, now in its 17th season, has built a reputation for producing some of the best DMR efforts in the country and the 2004 edition proved no different. Georgetown, Notre Dame and Michigan all automatically qualified for the NCAA Championship in the women’s DMR, with the Hoyas just edging the Irish at the finish line in 11:07.27 to set the meet record. The Notre Dame team of junior Lauren King (running 1,200 meters in 3:26), senior Kristen Dodd (400 meters in 53.00), junior Kerry Meagher (800 meters in 2:10) and sophomore Molly Huddle (mile in 4:37) finished in a school record 11:07.94. In fact, the Irish squad obliterated the old school record by 17 seconds.
The 5,000 meters was held for the first time this season on the Meyo track, and Notre Dame responded by putting five athletes into the BIG EAST Championship field. On the women’s side, sophomore Jean Marinangeli led most of the way before giving up the lead to eventual winner Jill Scully from Ball State (17:16.81). Marinangeli did finish in 17:20.20, however, easily qualifying for the conference meet (qualifying standard of 17:53.54). Seniors Katie Wales (seventh, 17:50.75) and Maggie Nelsen (eighth, 17:51.25) also reached the qualification time.
For the men, Georgetown’s Rod Koborsi set the pace to finish in an NCAA provisional time of 14:11.01. Senior Todd Mobley took advantage of the race to qualify for the conference meet in his first 5,000-meter effort of the season, finishing sixth in 14:28.54. Teammate and sophomore Kaleb Van Ort was right behind in seventh (14:29.71) and also qualified for the BIG EAST meet.
The women’s long jump provided a series of drama on the evening as well. To begin, Maryland’s Kierra Foster set a new meet record and track record with a solid 6.35m (21-10) leap early in the fourth flight. Little did Foster know, however, that the record she broke was set by 2003 Notre Dame graduate Tameisha King – who was also competing in the meet on her quest for making the U.S. Olympic Team. Foster held the meet and track record for a few minutes, as King leaped 6.40m (21-0) to reclaim her two record marks.
Other top efforts for Notre Dame on Friday evening:
– Senior Megan Johnson entered the 1,000 meters for the first time this season and promptly qualified for the BIG EAST Championship in the event by finishing second in 2:54.07. Freshman Brianne Schmidt just missed qualifying for the conference meet in her second event (she reached the 800-meter time last weekend) by finishing seventh in 3:00.76 – the BIG EAST time to reach is 2:59.04.
– Sophomore Dee Dee Bryant qualified for the BIG EAST Championship in the pole vault, clearing 3.35m to finish 10th in the competition.
– Sophomore Meghan Horn moved closer to a conference qualification in the weight throw, posting a season-best 13.63m (44-8 _) to finish 18th. The BIG EAST mark to reach is 13.74m.
– Freshman Todd Ptacek qualified for the conference meet in the men’s 1,000 meters, finishing fifth overall in 2:29.42. Teammate Ben Hess just missed the qualification by finishing in 2:30.15 – the time to beat was 2:30.04.
The meet continues tomorrow at 9:45 a.m., with most of the final races set for 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. The legendary Meyo Mile will hit the track at 2:30 p.m. (last season’s Meyo Mile witnessed four runners break the four-minute barrier).