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Track and Field: More athletes look to qualify for NCAAs at Indiana Invite

Bill Brink | Thursday, April 5, 2007

After qualifying 14 athletes over the past two weekends for the NCAA Mideast Regional, Notre Dame will travel to Bloomington to compete in the Indiana Relays Friday and Saturday. But those plans could be halted by weather. Due to weekend forecasts, there is a possibility that Notre Dame could scratch the meet, senior Ryan Postel said. “[Notre Dame sprinting] coach [John] Millar is discussing not running anyone at all and scratching the meet,” Postel said. “It is supposed to be in the 30s this weekend there. Not exactly ideal for racing.”The first day of competition of the 2006 Indiana Relays was cancelled due to inclement weather.If the Irish do compete, Postel will run the 400-meter dash, an event in which he has already qualified for the Regionals. Postel placed first at Arizona State’s Clif Bar invitational in the event with a time of 47.20 seconds. The Notre Dame men will not participate in the 4×100 meter relay due to a shortage of sprinters, Postel said.”As it stands right now, we might not even run that event at all this season because we are lacking some short sprinters due to various reasons,” he said. The Irish performed well at last year’s Indiana Invitational. Sophomore Patrick Smyth won the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:12.61. Senior Todd Ptacek, A.J. Andrassy, who graduated in 2006, and junior Jake Watson finished 3-4-5 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, with Ptacek’s time of 8:58.05 leading the way. On the women’s side, senior Molly Huddle finished fourth in the 5,000 meters, crossing the line in 15:54.41.If the meet is scratched, the Irish compete next at the Mount SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. Notre Dame likely will send only sprinters and field athletes to the event – Postel said that the distance runners will not be competing. That would leave the Irish with eight events to earn or improve their qualifying spots before the Big East championships, which begins May 4 in Storrs, Conn. After that, Notre Dame then has the Georgia Tech Invitational, held on May 11-12, to prepare itself for the Mideast Regional, which begins May 25. Irish athletes who qualify go on to race in the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif. June 6-9, and from there to the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championship June 21-24 in Indianapolis.Currently, the Irish have 37 athletes qualified for the Big East Championships.