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MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Benninger runs 4-minute mile

John Everett | Monday, February 7, 2005

Competing against some of the best athletes from all regions of the country, the Irish answered with excellent individual performances to establish their stance at the forefront of the Big East conference. The field running the mile highlighted the 18th annual Meyo Invitational, held Friday and Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center. Four runners in the event broke the four-minute mark, the time first broken by Roger Bannister in 1954 that has come to be the standard against which all runners are judged. Indiana’s Sean Jefferson, who crossed the finish line at 3 minutes, 56.44 seconds, one second in front of his identical twin brother John, also of Indiana, won the race. This is the first time in NCAA history two brothers have both cracked the four-minute plateau in the same race. Notre Dame graduate Luke Watson returned to his alma mater to finish third in 3:58.59, with current Notre Dame sophomore Kurt Benninger fourth in 3:58.75. It was the first time Benninger had cracked four minutes. Benninger was pleased with his performance and with those of his teammates. “I’m pretty happy about it [breaking four minutes],” he said. “Any time you break four minutes, it’s exciting, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Overall, the meet went pretty well for us also.” The Irish qualified seven for the Big East Championships and three for the NCAAs. Freshman Terrell Lambert became the third Irish runner to qualify for the Big East in the 60-meter dash, joining Selim Nurudeen and Dwight Ellick, both of whom sat out the race this weekend. Nurudeen went up against Antwon Hicks of Mississippi in the 60-meter hurdles. Nurudeen posted a time of 7.80 seconds, finishing second to Hicks, the best collegian in this event, who ran a 7.65. Nurudeen also finished third in the 200-meters, with a personal best of 21.33 seconds, one of the best times in the conference this season. Several Irish athletes posted great marks, but due to the high caliber of the competition finished further down in the standings. These marks won’t go unnoticed since a lot of them are among the very best posted in the Big East this year. Chris Staron and Christopher Jacques finished ninth in the high jump and long jump respectively. Staron’s jump of 2.01 meters was the third-best in conference, while Jacques’ 6.98-meter leap was second best.