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Men’s Track and Field: Relay team claims three-peat

Joe Meixell | Monday, April 28, 2008

The weekend for the Notre Dame men’s track team can be summed up in one word: dominance. With outstanding performances at the 99th annual Drake Relays and a strong showing at the Hillsdale Relays, the Irish will have a good chance of earning the top seed in next week’s Big East conference meet.

At Drake, history was made when the 4-by-1600 meter relay team of juniors Patrick Smyth and Dan Clark and seniors Jake Watson and Kurt Benninger took Notre Dame to first place for the third year in a row with a world- best time of 16:51.82.

“Every year we come out here and we always run this relay and the fact we’ve been able to win it four of the last five sort of establishes a tradition now. It’s something we look forward to every year,” Watson said. “We just have a strong mid-distance, distance program in general. That’s sort of where our orientation is as far as track and field goes. This relay is perfect.'”

Other running performances included senior Austin Wechter placing 19th in the 400-meter hurdles and senior Brett Adams placing 13th in the 1,500-meter run. As for field events, senior Mike Schubert and freshman Denes Veres placed 14th and 17th, respectively, in the shot put.  Sophomore Brandon Denon followed close behind to place 14th in the discus throw.

At the Hillsdale relays, junior Blair Macjina reached his season-best jump of 2.10 meters, beating his previous jump by .3 meters. Sophomore Ryan Bell finished with top marks in the discus throw, placing 16th with a throw of 41.74 meters. Junior Tray Morgan threw for the Irish as well, placing 14th with 46.46 meters.

Other field event performances included freshman Greg Davis who placed eighth in hammer throw, with a distance of 54.54 meters. Junior Jeff Mensch placed 17th in the same event with a throw of 51.16 meters.

As for running events, the 800-meter run was an event loaded up with Irish participants. Sophomores Cameron Eckert, Jack Howard, Jim Notwell and freshmen Ryan Gamboa, Kevin Labus, Spencer Carter and sophomore Brier Steenberge all finished in the top 30 in a race that featured almost 100 runners. Eckert lead the pack of Irish, finishing fourth.

Junior Billy Buzaid and Senior Bob Kueny finished with top marks as well in the men’s 400-meter dash, placing sixth and seventh respectively and earning qualifying times for the Big East meet next week.

The outdoor season for the Irish will culminate in the Big East Conference championship at the Jumbo Elliot Track at Villanova starting at 11 a.m. on Friday.