March 27, 2001
Notre Dame women’s track and field team
First weekend of the 2001 outdoor season
Stanford Invitational, Palo Alto, Calif.
Arizona State Invitational, Tempe, Ariz.
Purdue Open, West Lafayette, Ind.
Fri., March 30 – Sat., March 31
Irish will compete at three different venues this weekend: The University of Notre Dame women’s track and field team begins the 2001 outdoor season this weekend, splitting into three different groups to compete across the country. A small group of distance runners will be going to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational, another limited group will be traveling to Tempe, Ariz., for the Arizona State Invitational and the rest of the team will be in West Lafayette, Ind., for the Purdue Open.
The Irish are returning to outdoor competition after two consecutive third place finishes (best in school history) in the 1999 and 2000 BIG EAST outdoor championships. Notre Dame is bolstered by a talented group of young athletes – as most of the individuals who scored at the BIG EAST championship last year return in 2001.
Junior Liz Grow (New Braunfels, Texas) returns to lead the sprint group once again. The indoor All-American holds the school record in the 400 meters (53.10) and posted the team’s top times in the 100 and 200 meters as well last season. Grow finished seventh in the 400 meters at the 2000 NCAA outdoor championship.
Grow will also anchor an improved 4×100 relay team this year. Freshman sprinters Ayesha Boyd (Spartanburg, SC) and Kristen Dodd (Toledo, Ohio) should contend to be on the top relay team along with sophomore Tameisha King (Mableton, Ga.).
King will be out to repeat her All-America finish in the long jump from last season. The Irish school record holder, she also is expected to put up some impressive times in the 100-meter hurdles. King finished second in the long jump at the 2000 BIG EAST outdoor championship and took sixth place in the 100-meter hurdles.
Senior Carrie Lenz (London, Ontario) will help out with the 400-meter hurdles after placing fourth in the BIG EAST last season.
In the distance lane, Jenn Handley (Barrie, Ontario) returns with the top time in the 3,000 meters last season. Senior Chrissy Kuenster (Wheaton, Ill.), who was one of the most consistent runners for the Irish during the indoor season, should be a contender in the 5,000 meters on the outdoor tracks. Freshman Megan Johnson (Seattle, Wa.), who ran the mile during the indoor season, has the ability to be among the leaders all season in the 1,500 meters.
For the field events, the Irish will be counting on a deep roster in the pole vault and King in the long jump to keep the team in contention. School-record holder Jaime Volkmer (Kearney, Neb.) will make a push for an NCAA consideration mark each time she steps on the runway this season. Volkmer cleared 11-9 3/4 as a freshman last season and won the BIG EAST outdoor pole vault title. Bethany Wilson (San Rafael, Calif.), Jill VanWeelden (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Natalie Hallett (Huntington Beach, Calif.) also possess the ability to win each pole vault competition they enter this season.
School-record holder Andre Duplechain (Port Barre, La.) returns for her second season of competition in the javelin while heptathlon specialist Emily Bienko (Tranquillity, NJ) can also provide some important meet points for the Irish. List of competitors for this weekend’s meets:
Stanford Invitational: Jennifer Handley, Chrissy Kuenster, Todd Mobley, Sean McManus and Ryan Shay.
Arizona State Invitational: Ayesha Boyd, Kristen Dodd, Liz Grow, Megan Johnson, Tameisha King, Kymia Love, Jill VanWeelden, Jaime Volkmer, James Bracken, Andrew Cooper, Travis Davey, Derek Dyer, Tom Gilbert, Mike Madigan, Godwin Mbagwu, Matt O’Brien, Kevin Somok, Sean Zanderson.