ND WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD: Team qualifies 7 for Big East finals
Ryan Kiefer | Monday, April 4, 2005
Despite what the results may say, the biggest winner this weekend at the Poehlein Invitational was Mother Nature.Athletes battled 20 to 30 mile per hour winds Saturday at Purdue University and were forced to settle for slow times on the track and short distances in the field events.In spite of the conditions, the women’s team emerged with four victories and seven Big East qualifications. Kerry Meagher won the 1,500 meters in her first race since the cross-country season and qualified for the Big East meet. Lauren King duplicated Meagher’s performance in the 5,000 meters, winning in her first attempt of the track season, and qualifying for conference. King dominated the competition, winning by over 18 seconds. The return of King and Meagher to the distance team solidifies an already strong portion of the Irish’s squad. Coach Tim Connelly was pleased to have two of his veterans back in the lineup.”It was great to see Kerry run well,” Connelly said. “We wanted to get her and Lauren on the track after they missed indoor. Lauren was very strong in the 5K. We’re going to keep her in the 5,000 for a while because she’s not ready for speed work yet. We’re just glad to have them both back.” Notre Dame’s best distance runners were coming off a rigorous weekend at Stanford and ran in the 1,500 meters as a training exercise. This allowed the Irish to dominate this event scoring six of the top nine places, including the top three. Meagher was followed by Stephanie Madia and Elizabeth Webster to complete the 1-2-3 finish. Coach Connelly was pleased by the results, but wasn’t worried about his team’s times this week. “Everything was slow because of the conditions. The kids knew this and just ran to win races. I was proud of their effort,” Connelly said.The 4-by-100 relay team of Brienne Davis, Maryann Erigha, Domenique Manning and Okechi Ogbuokiri also impressed, winning in their first race together. “They got the stick [baton] around nicely, and they worked well together for the first time out,” Connelly said. Stacey Cowan won the high jump, qualifying for the Big East meet in the process. Two other high jumpers, Cassie Gullickson and Emily Loomis also earned places in the Big East meet. Davis’s time in the 100 meters and Manning’s 100-meter hurdle effort rounded out the Big East qualifiers. The Irish will have next weekend off and will focus their efforts during the next two weeks on training for the Mt. SAC Relays, traditionally a very competitive meet, which begins April 15.