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Track and Field: Irish to travel to Big East Championships

Fran Tolan | Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Notre Dame feels well prepared as it heads to Storrs, Conn. this weekend for the Big East championships, after strong showings in its most recent events,

“At this point, we’re about as ready as we’re going to get [for the Big East],” Irish sprinters coach John Millar said.

Last weekend, at the Hillsdale “Gina” Relays and the Drake Relays, the Irish added seven more Big East qualifying marks to their already strong outdoor record.

Notre Dame looks to reclaim their conference title after finishing in second place last year, and winning in 2003 and 2004.

The men’s team is excited as it prepares for tough conference foes, including Louisville and tournament host Connecticut.

“We’ve been training really hard all season and we’re definitely looking for a win,” Notre Dame junior Geoff Bennett said.

Bennett qualified for the 110-meter hurdles last weekend at the “Gina” Relays in Hillsdale, Mich.

Meanwhile, the women are in position to record an impressive Big East “triple crown” this year with titles already in cross-country and indoor track and field.

The last conference school to do that on the women’s side was Villanova in 1987-88, prior to Notre Dame’s entry into the Big East.

The woman’s team will be up against stiff competition, including a tough Pittsburgh unit that won last year’s Big East Championship in Piscataway, N.J.

Coach Millar called this event the one that the Irish put the most emphasis on from a team perspective.

“The NCAAs are more about individual goals, but we ask a lot out of the athletes at the Big East,” Millar said.

Millar pointed out that, in order to help the team, some athletes are asked to compete in more events than they are typically used to.

“We really just want to rack up as many points as we can and, hopefully, it’s more than everyone else has,” Millar said.

The meet will be held this Friday through Sunday at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Connecticut.

“The last week has given [the athletes] an opportunity to fine-tune,” Millar said. “I think we’re well-prepared.”