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Track and Field: Notre Dame adds seven competitors to Big East finals

Chris Hine | Monday, May 1, 2006

With the Big East meet looming next week, Notre Dame competed in two meets this weekend, garnering seven more Big East bids and two more Mideast Regional qualifying marks.

At the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, the men’s 4-by-1,600-meter relay team, comprised of sophomore Jake Watson, senior Vinny Ambrico, junior Todd Ptacek and junior Kurt Benninger captured victory with a time of 16:28.26, edging out second-place Illinois by less than three seconds.

It is the fourth time in school history that Notre Dame has won in this event.

“It was nice to go and win there. It was nice to run in front of 12,000 people,” Benninger said. “We got to run and win a relay that we don’t get to run in other meets like the Big East.”

Also competing at Drake was the 4-by-800-meter relay team of junior anchor Thomas Chamney and sophomores Brett Adams, Adam Currie and John Cavanaugh, which placed ninth. In the hammer-throw, Kyle Annen tossed a conference-best 190 feet and three inches.

At the Hillsdale Gina Relays in Hillsdale, Mich., Notre Dame nabbed two spots in the Mideast Regional meet, giving the team 24 for the season.

Senior Molly Huddle earned a bid by winning the 1,500-meter run. Notre Dame’s other Mideast Qualifier was freshman Blair Majcina, who placed second in the high jump with a personal best of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.

Next week the Irish will compete in the Big East championship meet in Storrs, Conn. This meet is the culmination of the team track season for the Irish, with most of the season spent trying to qualify for the meet in certain events.

With two team victories already this school year, the women have a realistic chance of accomplishing the triple-crown by winning the indoor, outdoor and cross-country portions of the meet.

“Preparation is not really all the different,” Benninger said. “You try to get all the stuff you have to do out of the way so you can focus for it. … I hope everybody does the same.”

Benninger will compete in the 1,500-meter and the five-kilometer run at the meet.

“I’ll try to get some sleep for it,” he said.