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MEN’S TRACK: Two Irish athletes to run Meyo Mile

Joe Meixell | Friday, February 4, 2005

Every sport has the one milestone that separates the good player from the great player – a milestone that has been reached by only a handful of athletes. Football has the 2,000-yard rushing season, baseball has Joe DiMaggio’s 56-consecutive game hit streak. Track has the four-minute mile.

This Saturday, athletes from around the country, from Michigan to Ole Miss, will gather at the Loftus Sports Center to attempt to break four minutes in the 15th annual Meyo Invitational. Two Notre Dame athletes, senior Eric Morrison and sophomore Kurt Benninger, will lead the Irish men’s team in pursuit of victory, and the ever-elusive four minutes.

Benninger had a breakout day Saturday at the Notre Dame Indoor Invitational, scorching the field in the 3,000 meters with a 7:59.39. Breaking the eight-minute mark was, for Benninger, a great accomplishment, an accomplishment he looks to better this Saturday.

“I was really happy to break eight minutes,” Benninger said. “[But] to break four minutes in the mile has always been a huge goal of mine.”

For the senior Morrison, a sub-four-minute mile has been an elusive goal, but one which is well within his reach. Having already posted a 4:01 mile during his career, Morrison is very close to breaking that barrier.

Just breaking four minutes, however, might not be enough for the Irish athletes to claim victory, as this year’s race is expected to feature the defending NCAA mile champion and half a dozen runners with personal best times under 4:05. Just last year, the top-five finishers in the Meyo Mile all broke four minutes. Returning champion and Notre Dame graduate Luke Watson will return to attempt to defend his title.

The mile is not the only attraction at the Meyo Invitational, however, as senior hurdler Selim Nurudeen looks to continue his dominance in the 60 meter hurdles, and the rest of the Irish squad take to the field in pursuit of Big East and NCAA qualifying. Events start tonight, but all of the finals will take place Saturday between 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 with the Meyo Mile starting at 2:30 p.m.