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ND Men’s Track: Squad looks to build on earlier successes

Joe Meixell | Friday, January 18, 2008

After winning 24 of 31 events at the Blue and Gold Invitational in December, the men’s team looks to start out strong in 2008. At the Invitational, both old and new members stepped up, with multiple freshmen earning Big East qualifications and senior Kurt Benninger blazing through the 3,000-meter race to the second-fastest time in the nation this season.

Notre Dame will host the Indoor Opener tonight at 5:30 in the Loftus Center.

Irish coach Joe Piane said he is very pleased with how the younger players are doing well to fill the gaps left by last year’s seniors.

“It’s tough to come back and perform on a high level when you lose players of that high a caliber,” Piane said. “But the underclassmen are stepping up in a big way, and this year’s upperclassmen haven’t missed a beat.”

The Irish will look to freshman Miklos Szebeny in the short distance events. An international student who hails from Hungary, he came to Notre Dame already a very accomplished sprinter. He captured the national title for his age group multiple times in both the 100- and 200-meter events. He also is co-owner of the record for the 4×400 relay. When Szebeny ran in his first event back in December, he settled in with ease as he took first place in the 200-meter dash.

The long distance events will be an opportunity for veterans to continue to improve. Senior Kurt Benninger will look to dominate in the 3,000-meter race. Meanwhile, sophomore Jake Walker will look to keep improving after an impressive debut at the invitational when he outran the competition in the 5,000-meter race.

The team will also look to freshman thrower Greg Davis, who showed potential with a first place finish at last month’s qualifier.