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Irish journey to 46th annual Mt. SAC relays

Mike Gilloon | Friday, April 16, 2004

It’s been said that tough competition brings out the best in an athlete. The Irish hope this old adage holds true this weekend as seventeen Notre Dame competitors will travel to the 46th annual Mt. SAC relays in Walnut, Calif. The relays, held at Mt. San Antonio College, attract a first-class field of runners, jumpers and throwers. The athletes hail from colleges all around the country including powerhouses Arkansas, Oregon, Arizona and USC. There will also be international entrants on national teams from countries such as Canada, Kenya, Australia and Great Britain. “This is known as one of the best meets in the country,” said Irish assistant coach Tim Connelly. “It will attract a lot of post-collegiate runners and many contenders for the Olympics.”Among the group Notre Dame will be sending are distance standouts Molly Huddle and Thomas Chamney. Chamney won last week’s men’s 800 meters and looks to continue his success against the solid field. Huddle is coming off a third place finish in last week’s Missouri Invitational. However she did manage to qualify for the Big East Championships and will be one of the top collegiate competitors in the 5000 meters. Huddle’s teammate Stephanie Madia will also run in the 5000 meters. Some of the other team members going to the meet include Godwin Mbagwu and Stacey Cowan. Mbagwu won the triple jump last week at Missouri with a leap of 14.52 meters. Cowan has been a consistent threat in the women’s high jump all season long. She placed first in her most recent outdoor appearance, a 1.68-meter leap earlier this month in the spring opener. Both the men’s and women’s 4-by-400 meter relay teams will also make the trip.Those not making the trek to California will stay closer to home and participate in the Indy Relays in Indianapolis. Teams from around the region such as Butler, DePauw, Louisville and Ball State are expected to compete. “We just want to get people ready to run fast,” Connelly said when asked what his team focused on this week in practice.The mild weather the last couple of days has made outdoor practice easier on the Irish. “The bad weather has affected everyone lately and we had been hoping at some point to get a break,” Connelly said. “From what I hear it’s supposed to be nice in both places this weekend.”