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Track and Field: Records broken at Loftus

Bill Brink | Monday, March 5, 2007

The men’s 4×400 meter relay team set a school record Saturday at the two-day Alex Wilson Invitational, held at the Loftus Sports Center, with a time of 3:08.38. The relay team’s mark, which qualified it to possibly make the NCAA Championships this Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., was one of several school, meet and personal records set over the weekend. “I just think the mile relay was the race of the day for us,” Irish coach Joe Piane said. “It’s been a long time coming for those guys to get qualified for the NCAAs.”The team, composed of senior Jordan Powell, junior Austin Wechter, junior Bob Kueny and senior Ryan Postel, finished second in the race. Ranked No. 12 in the nation after Saturday’s race, they find out tonight if they will compete in the NCAA Championships.The distance medley relay also performed well, finishing in 9:35.71 – good for the ninth-fastest time in the country. Wechter, senior Todd Ptacek, junior John Cavanaugh and junior Jake Wilson placed seventh in the event Saturday.”That was fantastic. They did a great job,” Piane said. “And it ensures that they’re going to be at the NCAAs.”Irish runners had success in the individual events as well. Fifth-year senior Molly Huddle won the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:31.54. This was only Huddle’s second race of the year, since she missed a large portion of the season with a foot injury. “It means a great deal to her, certainly for her self-satisfaction,” Piane said. “To the team itself, it means that Molly is back. She’s been injured for quite a while and now she’s obviously healthy and ready to compete for the highest level.”Postel ran the 400 meters in 47.23 seconds, his best time on the season, and finished in sixth place. That time is the second-fastest in Notre Dame indoor track history and also qualifies him for the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Patrick Smith posted a career-best time of 8:01.32 in the 3,000 meters. Having previously qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 5,000 meters, Smith has now qualified for the NCAAs in two events.Wilson has also qualified for the NCAAs in the mile and senior Thomas Chamney will run the 800 meters at the Championships.In total, the meet saw 83 NCAA provisional qualifying times posted.