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ND TRACK AND FIELD: Irish hope to continue season’s strong start

Justin Beltz | Friday, January 27, 2006

The Irish look to pick up where they left off last week as they host the Notre Dame Invitational today at Loftus Sports Center. The team is coming off of a very impressive performance last week at the Notre Dame Opener, which was highlighted by victories in twelve different events.

The Invitational is traditionally sandwiched between the Notre Dame Opener and the prestigious Meyo Invitational. It’s considered an excellent tune up for the Meyo Invite, with competition being offered by many top schools from around the region.

Leading the way for the Irish women heading into the Invitational are sprinters Maryann Erigha and Oketchi Ogbuokiri. Erigha took home top honors in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters last weekend. Meanwhile, Ogbuokiri posted a time in the 400 meters worthy of both a top finish and a provisional NCAA Championship qualification.

Another member of the women’s squad to watch is freshman pole vaulter Mary Saxer. Saxer has already won the pole vault in both meets of the 2006 indoor season, and has also posted a vault good enough for provisional NCAA consideration.

“My goal for the rest of the season is just to continue to improve, and to reach the level that I was once at in my high school career,” Saxer said.

On the men’s side of the ledger, freshman Austin Wechter has been a bright spot for the Irish thus far, capturing the crown in the 500 meter dash last week at the Notre Dame Invitational. Junior Garet Koxlien, fresh off of an all-Big East season in the discus last year, has also been impressive early on this season, winning the men’s weight throw at the Notre Dame Invitational. The throwers as a group have been showing a lot of improvement as the season has progressed.

“We always have the goal of improving our marks and working towards marks that will help gain our team points for the Big East Conference championship,” sophomore thrower Kyle Annen said.

Next weekend’s Meyo Invitational draws teams from all across the country, and is considered one of the most prestigious events in the indoor season.