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Irish runners to rest this weekend

Ryan Kiefer | Friday, February 25, 2005

The Notre Dame women’s track team will enjoy a well deserved bye this weekend, just six days after finishing second at the Big East Indoor Championships.

The Irish were scheduled to travel to Boston to compete in the USATF Championships, a national championship-caliber event featuring several professional athletes. Instead, Notre Dame has chosen to keep all their athletes home to rest. Coach Tim Connelly explained the logic behind the decision.

“The girls competed real hard last week. The competition was intense, and it was a very long week – we left Wednesday night and didn’t get back until Monday morning,” Connelly said. “After a week like that, we need some time off to get everyone rested for NCAA’s and let people catch up on work.”

Connelly was pleased with his team’s performance last week at the conference meet. Knowing that Pittsburgh was the prohibitive favorite, the Irish came closer to the Panthers than Connelly figured they would. Junior Stephanie Madia’s performance drew special recognition from Connelly.

“She [Madia] ran a great meet, running second in the mile and the 3,000, and running strong in two relays,” he said. “To run four races at that level was incredible.”

The only negative Connelly drew from the Big East meet was junior All-American Molly Huddle’s foot injury. Huddle, running in her first meet of the season because of a foot injury she sustained in cross country, suffered an injury on a different bone in her foot. The injury is blamed on running before the previous ailment was healed, Connelly said, lamenting the decision to run Huddle last weekend.

“It simply wasn’t worth it,” he said. “This will be a longer recovery period because we will be sure not to rush her back from this injury.”

The Irish will run next in the Alex Wilson Invitational at Loftus Center starting a week from today, which will be the final meet before the NCAA championships.

“We’ll be running kids that are close to provisional times, and other athletes who have provisional times, but will be looking to move up in the rankings to assure themselves a spot in the small but competitive NCAA field,” he said.