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Irish send partial squad to Willie Williams Invitational

Ryan Kiefer | Friday, March 18, 2005

A partial squad of Irish track athletes will travel to the University of Arizona this weekend to open the outdoor portion of the Notre Dame women’s track schedule at the Willie Williams Invitational. Notre Dame will send sprinters, hurdlers and a few field athletes to the desert Friday with hopes to jumpstart the team’s quest for outdoor Big East qualification times. The mid-distance and distance teams will stay in South Bend to rest and try to get healthy. Kerry Meagher, Lauren King and Molly Huddle, all Irish cross country stars, are still rehabbing long term injuries. Among the group of athletes that will compete this weekend are Big East Champion Okechi Ogbuokiri, promising freshmen Brienne Davis, Domenique Manning and Crysta Swayzer and Maryann Erigha, who was one spot out of qualifying for last weekend’s NCAA indoor meet. While this meet represents a transition from the climate controlled Loftus Center to the dry heat of Arizona, Irish coach Tim Connelly maintained that his team’s focus must be on the season as a whole. “Indoor is not the end of a season,” Connelly said. “We don’t start all over again when we go outside.””The indoor and outdoor make up one complete season. We need to view it like this to make a smooth transition to the outdoor portion of our schedule.”This weekend will also provide the opportunity for Notre Dame’s two NCAA athletes, 3000-meter specialist Stephanie Madia and high jumper Stacey Cowan, to refocus and get refreshed for another NCAA push. Madia finished 12th and Cowan finished 19th last weekend at the indoor NCAA’s. The rest of the Irish track team is expected to make its outdoor debut in one of two meets scheduled over Easter weekend.