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MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Irish win Big East championship

Nathan Dyer | Monday, February 21, 2005

The Irish won the Big East Indoor Championship in Syracuse, N.Y., over the weekend, fending off tough competition from all of the other competitors, especially Rutgers, who fought the Irish to the very end. The lead in the team competition changed hands constantly over the weekend between the Irish and the Scarlet Knights, but it was a second-place finish in the 3,200 meter relay that clinched victory for the Irish.Notre Dame held the lead going into Sunday’s final day of competition, earning 57.50 points through the five events that took place during Saturday’s competition and leading Rutgers by 20 points. The Scarlet Knights fought back on Sunday, however, at one point overtaking the Irish by nine points. After a strong showing in the 3,000 meters, the Irish retook the lead, gaining 25 points and a 14-point lead on Rutgers.The final team score for the two-day competition was Notre Dame 182, Rutgers 168.5, with Pittsburgh taking third place (98 points). Notre Dame last won the Big East title two years ago.The story of the weekend was Irish hurdler Selim Nurudeen, as the senior defended his 60-meter hurdles title from a year ago, on his way to claiming the men’s most outstanding track performer, Nurudeen broke his own record of 7.78 seconds set last year, with a time of 7.72, and also won the 200-meter dash title, with a time of 21.38.Sophomore Kurt Benninger added to his outstanding indoor season, doubling up on individual titles, bringing home the mile and 3,000-meter race crowns with times of 4:12.14 and 8:15.22, respectively. Benninger finished just ahead of teammate Tim Moore (8:17.04) in the 3,000 meter race. Notre Dame senior cornerback Dwight Ellick showed what he is capable of off the gridiron, taking second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.78, just .05 off the winner, Syracuse’s Aulton Kohn.