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Men’s Track and Field: Notre Dame ready for conference championships

Eugenia Alfonso | Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The time for the Notre Dame men’s track team has come.

The Big East Conference Championship approaches this weekend with much promise for great performances from all events. With 50 Big East qualifiers and 17 NCAA Provisional qualifications, the Irish team is looking strong as they make their way to finish in 2007-08 season.

With close competitions from Louisville, University of Connecticut and Georgetown, Notre Dame still remains in close contention for the championship.

The success of Notre Dame’s distance relay of seniors Kurt Benninger, Jake Watson, juniors Patrick Smyth and Dan Clark has set the bar high for great performances next year.  

“I think it’s because we have a great group of athletes,” Benniger said. “With guys like that running, not many teams out there can put together a team like that. When you can put a distance group together like that, it’s going to be tough to beat.”

Along with the distance runners, sophomore Balasz Molnar, senior Austin Wechter have qualified and earned the No. 7 seed for the 400-meter and 400-meter intermediate hurdles, respectively.

For field events, the consistent Irish throwers have qualified five for the hammer throw, discus throw and shot put. Sophomore Eric Quick has qualified for both the triple and long jump while junior Blair Macjina and freshman Justin Schneider are seeded sixth in the high jump. Sophomore Matt Schipper and junior Brian Mahon are also seeded second and eighth respectively for pole vault.

The 2008 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Jumbo Elliott Track in Villanova, Pa. will start Friday with Notre Dame’s No. 1 seed Justin Schneider in the men’s decathlon 100m at 11:00 a.m.