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ND Track and Field: Meyo Invitational marks last chance for Big East qualification

Jack Hefferon | Friday, February 4, 2011

The Irish will return home this weekend for the 24th annual Meyo Invitational, their last chance to qualify and prepare for the Big East championships.

“As far as non-championship meets go, this is one of the best in the country,” junior thrower Andy Hills said.

Last year’s version of the Invitational was an exceptionally fast meet, with track records broken, nation-leading times set and great performances across the board. The meet also served as a last-chance qualifier for several Notre Dame athletes, on whose strength the men’s team was able to win the Big East indoor championship, while the women turned in a strong showing to finish sixth.

With last year in mind, the Irish understand the importance of a strong showing at the Invitational this weekend. One Irish athlete who will be looking for a strong performance is sophomore Jeremy Rae, who is hoping to follow up a win at the Indiana Relays and Big East athlete of the week honors with another great performance. Rae will run in the extremely competitive Meyo Mile, which featured a winning time under four minutes last year.

Another hotly contested race will be the Ryan Shay 3,000-meter run. The race honors Shay, a 2001 graduate who excelled for the Irish, earning All-American honors an incredible nine times. Junior Joe Miller finished 11th in the event last year, and will look to build upon that finish this time around. On the women’s side of the meet, sophomore Nevada Sorenson will look to claim the 60-meter hurdles after finishing second last year.

The Irish will face stiff competition throughout the weekend, as several elite collegiate teams from around the country will be in attendance. Illinois, Michigan, Western Michigan, Marquette, Vanderbilt and Indiana are among the many collegiate teams entered in the meet. The Hoosiers will pose a particularly stiff challenge for Notre Dame, as both their men’s and women’s teams are ranked in the Top 20 in the latest NCAA rankings.

“Usually it’s a higher level of competition, and there’s always a lot of good teams that come in,” Hills said.

The meet will begin Friday at 5 p.m. in the Loftus Sports Center, and will continue 10 a.m. Saturday.