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Irish track team takes weekend off to rest after placing second in last week’s Big East

Mike Gilloon | Friday, February 27, 2004

The Notre Dame indoor track and field teams will be able to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend. After both teams finished second in last week’s Big East Conference Championships, they will take this weekend off to rest. The USA Track and Field indoor Championships are being held today and Saturday in Boston, but Irish assistant coach Tom Connelly says Notre Dame will not be sending any participants. “The kids ran so hard last week at the Big East,” he said. “We decided it would be best to ease our way back into training and risk having too much recovery instead of too little.”The Irish ran well last week as a number of athletes took home individual awards. Selim Nurudeen won the conference championship and set a Big East record by running the men’s 60-meter dash in 7.78 seconds. Lauren King won her second straight conference title in the mile run in a time of 4:53.95. Sophomore Molly Huddle also made her mark last week as she was one of three runners to break the conference record in the 3l,000 meters.Connelly, the women’s distance coach, was thrilled with these performances. “Kerry Meagher, Lauren King and Molly Huddle were our workhorses,” he said. “Kerry was in a lot of races and Molly ran very hard all weekend. They have a lot of experience, and they knew what they had to do.”Connelly mentioned that the teams as a whole were pleased with their performances at the Big East. “Our kids competed really hard,” he said. “Miami finished ahead of our women but Miami is one of the top teams in the nation. Our kids just kept lining up and running and did about everything they could.”The Alex Wilson Invitational will be held at Notre Dame next weekend. Connelly wants to use that meet to get some more team members qualified for the NCAA Championships, to be held March 12-13 in Fayetteville, Ark. “There are a lot of kids on our team who we want to get qualified next week,” Connelly said. “We also want to fine tune the rest of the people who are already set to go to nationals.”Connelly believes the team is still confident as it heads into the home stretch of the indoor season. “The only way for runners to gain confidence in themselves is to run fast,” he said. “Our kids ran very fast last weekend.”Contact Mike Gilloon at mgilloon@nd.edu