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Men’s Track: Benninger qualifies for nationals in 3K event

Pat Stynes | Monday, February 11, 2008

Senior Kurt Benninger is fast.

Really fast.

He made that a well known fact at the Meyo Invitational this weekend in the Loftus Center by taking second in the Ryan Shay 3,000-meter race.

His time of 7:53.86 guarantees him a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

He was the fastest collegiate athlete in the field, as the runner who took first place in the event was from an independent track team.

Junior Patrick Smyth also did well in the event, coming in fourth – the second fastest collegiate time – with a time of 7:55.41, also beating the NCAA provisional time.

The Meyo Mile, traditionally one of the most competitive events in Notre Dame’s schedule, was loaded with talent from several different schools.

Three athletes broke the four-minute mark, and overall the race lived up to the hype.

Senior Jake Watson was the fastest Irish sprinter, but after leading in the beginning of the race he fell toward the end, finishing in sixth.

Notre Dame had a strong showing in men’s shot put as well. Sophomore Brandon Drenon, freshman Denes Veres and senior Mike Schubert all placed in the top 10, finishing in sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively.

The Irish will compete again Saturday at the Windsor Team Challenge in Windsor, Ontario.

This will be their last event before the Big East championships in New York.