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Weekend meets see Irish enjoy success

Mike Gilloon | Monday, April 26, 2004

Like a car going to the mechanic to make sure everything is in order before a long road trip, the Irish track and field team received a tune-up this weekend in preparation for next week’s Big East Championships. The team was split in two as most members competed in the Purdue Invitational while a handful of others participated in the Drake Relays. Overall, there were two Irish athletes who qualified for the conference meet and many others who achieved season-best marks. Maryann Erigha led the contingent at Purdue, as she was a double-winner in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Her times of 12.03 and 24.29 seconds in the 100- and 200-meters respectively were season bests as well as conference-qualifying times.Austin Weaver was the other runner to qualify for the Big East meet as he finished first in the 10,000 meters in a time of 31:36.03. Weaver was happy to be able to qualify as this was only the third outdoor meet he has run in all year. “Most importantly I feel relieved,” said Weaver. “I had been expecting to qualify for the Big Easts all year.”In the field events at Purdue, Laura Huarte had her best performance of the season in the pole vault by clearing a height of 3.75 meters to qualify her for the NCAA regional meet to be held in late May. Among the six other Notre Dame competitors to turn in season-best performances were pole vaulter Dave Viken, throwers Chip Roberts and Dan Porter, hurdler Alex Fortunado, sprinter Tricia Floyd and middle-distance runner Elizabeth Webster.The squad the Irish sent to the Drake Relays might have been small but it garnered its share of attention. The men’s 4×1,600-meter relay team won the competition for the second time since 2002 as Kurt Benninger, Vinnie Ambrico, Kevin Somok and Eric Morrison finished in a time of 16:23. Benninger led the team with an anchor-leg time of 4:02, while Morrison, Ambrico and Somok finished in 4:07, 4:05 and 4:09 respectively. In 2002, the 4×1,600 squad of Morrison, Somok, Luke Watson and Pat Conway won the event in a time of 16:39. This is a notable accomplishment for the Irish as the Drake Relays are billed as one of the most competitive meets in the country.

Contact Mike Gilloon at mgilloon@nd.edu