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Limited squad takes part in weekend meet

Ryan Kiefer | Monday, April 25, 2005

Mother Nature provided an unexpected roadblock for the Irish in their quest to qualify athletes for the Big East Championships. An April cold spell left temperatures at the Central Collegiates meet in the 30s, wind chills in the 20s and athletes and coaches alike frustrated with the conditions.”[Saturday] was not what track and field was meant to be,” Irish coach Tim Connelly said. The Irish had planned to send upwards of 20 athletes to Champaign, Ill., with hopes of earning conference qualifications and valuable experience. With the forecast calling for abysmal conditions, the Notre Dame coaching staff decided Friday to send only 11 athletes, keeping home all sprinters for fear of injury. Coach Connelly explained the decision to send the abbreviated team.”We sent those who were in need of chances to qualify for the Big East, and [high jumper] Stacey [Cowan] because she hasn’t competed in two weeks,” he said.The small Irish contingent fought valiantly but failed to produce any new Big East qualifications. Meghan Horn turned in a standout performance, fighting the sleet and wind to throw a season best in the shot put, 14.05 meters, earning her second place. Horn had already qualified for the Big East with a throw at the Indy relays last weekend. Other top performances were turned in by Jacqueline Carter (fourth in the 800 meters), Elizabeth Webster (fifth in the 1,500 meters), Elizabeth Phillip (fourth in the steeplechase) and Cowan (fourth in the high jump). Overall it was a difficult weekend for the Irish. While the conditions made competing an arduous task, it was frustrating for Connelly to have such a fruitless weekend two weeks before the conference finals. “It was not a very productive weekend,” he said. “If we had known the meet would have turned out like this, we may have just stayed home. The kids who were here and had a good hard workout may have gotten more out of the weekend. ” The Irish will hope for better weather next weekend when they will have their final chance to post qualifying marks for the Big East Championships. The team will send athletes to Hillsdale, Mich., for the Gina Relays and to Des Moines, Iowa, for the Drake Relays. Both meets are scheduled to begin Friday.