March 28, 2003
Notre Dame attending three different meets over the weekend: For most of the members of the Notre Dame men’s and women’s track and field teams, this weekend marks the first opportunity to compete outdoors as the team travels to three corners of the country. Most of the teams will be attending the Western Michigan Open in Kalamazoo, Mich. A few sprinters from the women’s team will be travelling down to Gainesville, Fla., and the Florida Relays. Meanwhile several Irish distance runners will be in Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational.
The Florida Relays is now in its 60th year, and is regarded by many as the unofficial start of the collegiate track and field season. The Notre Dame women will be among nearly 3,000 high school, collegiate and international athletes in attendance. The Irish will send sprinters Ayesha Boyd, Kristen Dodd, Tiffany Gunn, Tameisha King and Kymia Love to Gainesville. Gunn will have an opportunity to follow up on her second-place finish in the 400 hurdles a week ago at the Baldy Castillo Invitational as she is scheduled to compete in the same event in at the Florida Relays. The women will also field three relay teams over the weekend, as they will run in the 4×200-meter relay, the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay.
The Stanford Invitational is another one of the major traditional meets held early in the outdoor season. The Invitational is most well known for its competitive distance carnival to be held on Friday night, where a handful of Irish runners including Molly Huddle, Lauren King, Kerry Meagher, Ana Morales, Vinnie Ambrico, Tom Chamney, John Keane, Godwin Mbagwu, Eric Morrison, Kevin Somok and Chris Staron will be a part of the large and competitive field. A year ago, former Irish All-American Ryan Shay was the top finisher for the Irish at the Stanford Invitational, finishing second in the 10,000 meters and was the first collegiate to cross the finish line. Luke Watson also had a strong showing with a sixth-place finish and a school record in the 5,000 meters.
For many of the members of the track and field team, the meet at Western Michigan is a great chance to get back into competition. Many athletes have not competed since the Alex Wilson Invitational back on March 8, as the NCAA Championships were the following week, and only a few sprinters and throwers made the trip to Arizona last weekend. Notre Dame will send 29 women and 30 men to Kalamazoo.
The Florida Relays started Wednesday and will continue through Saturday afternoon. The Stanford Invitational also started Wednesday and will conclude Saturday evening, while the Western Michigan Open will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. A recap and results from all three meets will be available on und.com after they have concluded. Please note that due to the time difference, results from the Stanford Invitational may be delayed until Sunday morning.
Baldy Castillo Invitational provides successful start to outdoor season: The men’s and women’s track and field season got off to a good start in Tempe, Ariz., this past weekend as the women’s team came away with four victories and the men added several strong performances.
Jaime Volkmer won the women’s pole vault with a school-record effort of 3.90 meters (12′ 9 1/2″). Volkmer held the previous record of 3.81 meters set in 2002. Kymia Love won the 400-meter dash in a time of 53.85. Stacey Cowan placed first in the women’s high jump, with a leap of 1.75m (5′ 8 3/4″). The fourth Irish victory came in the women’s 4×100-meter relay, where the Notre Dame women finished in a time of 44.73, a mere .01 seconds ahead of second place Arizona State.
Among the limited number of men compteing, Selim Nurudeen and Ryan Mineburg each recorded top-three finishes. Nurudeen was third in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 14.31. Mineburg also placed third in the high jump, clearing a height of 2.07m (6′ 9 1/2″).
Qualifying in the desert: The Baldy Castillo Invitational allowed several Notre Dame athletes to secure post-season qualifications early in the season. The Notre Dame men posted two qualifications for the NCAA Regional, and the women had seven qualifiers. Qualifying for the Irish last weekend were Jaime Volkmer in the pole vault, Kymia Love, Ayesha Boyd and Kristen Dodd in the 400 meters and Stacy Cowen in the high jump were five of the women’s qualifiers. On the men’s side, Selim Nurudeen qualified in the 110-meter hurdles and Ryan Mineburg advanced in the high jump. In addition, the men qualified nine for the BIG EAST Championship to go along with 12 qualifiers for the women.
Irish prepared to have strong showing in first ever NCAA Regional meet: The 2003 outdoor track and field season will showcase a set of meets that will add a new dimension to the NCAA Championship qualifying picture. For the first time this year, athletes from around the country will be seeking qualifying times for a regional meet to be held two weeks before the NCAA Championships. Notre Dame will compete in the regional meet to be held May 30-31 in Columbus, Ohio, on the campus of Ohio State University. The qualifying standards for the regional meet will be lower than the traditional qualifying standards for the Championships. Athletes qualifying for the regional meet will compete for the right to attend the NCAA Championship meet in Sacramento, Calif. Head coach Joe Piane is hoping that 20 to 25 Irish athletes can reach the NCAA Regional meet in Columbus.
Coming Up: Notre Dame will host its first and only outdoor meet of the season on Saturday, April 5. Track events will begin at 10 a.m. at Moose Krause Stadium.