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Track and Field: Runners tune for Big East meet at Windsor

Jay Fitzpatrick | Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Practice makes perfect.

At least that’s what Irish coach Joe Piane was thinking when he decided to send competitors to the Windsor Team Challenge Saturday. Even though the Irish did not qualify any additional competitors for the Big East championships, which start this weekend, they improved their times in a competitive atmosphere.

“We had a couple of performances improve, like Jose [Genao] and Domenique Manning in the 60 [meter dash],” assistant coach John Millar said. “But in the most part it was more of a meet that we were using to prepare for this weekend and just give them a chance to compete away from the Loftus Center.”

The Irish women excelled once again in the sprints, taking the top three spots in the 60-meter and 300-meter runs. In the 60, senior Maryann Erigha won the event, followed by juniors Brienne Davis and Manning. Freshman Joanna Schultz placed first for the Irish in the 300 with senior Okechi Ogbuokiri and junior Crysta Swayzer taking the second and third spots.

Manning also took first in the 60 meters, while the Irish women won the 800-meter relay.

“Overall for the women, the ones that competed here ran pretty well. And most of them ran pretty close to their seasonal best,” Millar said. “But they ran better than last year at the same time so I felt really good about that.”

On the men’s side, the Irish were equally impressive. Genao set a seasonal best mark Saturday in the 60 meters while senior Jordan Powell set his own personal best in the 300 meters.

The Irish won the 600-meter in convincing fashion, with Juniors Austin Wechter and Robert Kueny taking first and second, respectively.

Even though no one from the limited Irish squad qualified for the Big East championships, the Irish still considered the weekend a success. Going into the tournament, Piane said the main goal was to taper some of the runs for qualified runners in order to give them a little extra preparation for the conference meet this weekend. This meant many of the races Notre Dame competed in, such as the 300 -eter sprint and the 800-meter relay, are not Big East events. Millar also said the main goal was to help get the team ready for the Big East.

“It was mainly a group of sprinters and quarter-milers and that sort of thing,” Millar said. “But I think overall it was successful from the standpoint of preparing them for the conference meet and just getting one last competitive opportunity.”