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ND Women’s Track: No. 11 Irish continue non-conference tune ups for Big East

Kiefer, Ryan | Friday, January 28, 2005

The Notre Dame women’s track team has been on a quest in its initial meets this season.

This quest has been to develop an identity as a team, an identity, which the team hopes, will carry the label “Big East Champion” by the end of the season. With the indoor conference meet still weeks away, the Irish will focus on establishing this identity this weekend at the Notre Dame Invitational.

The No. 11 Irish according to Trackwire.com, will host several schools including Butler, Loyola (Chicago), DePaul and Marquette Saturday at Loftus Center.

Notre Dame hopes to build on the momentum from last weekend’s dominating performance in which Irish athletes won 10 of 15 events at the Notre Dame Indoor Opener.

The competition this week is expected to be of a similar caliber, according to coach Tim Connelly.

“We expect good competition in some events, in particular the 800-meter, but we realize that in other events, our athletes’ main competition will be their teammates,” he said.

Part of developing the identity of a track team is determining early in the season in which events athletes will participate and more importantly, in which events they will excel. Notre Dame made adjustments in its lineup entering last weekend’s meet, and the team plans to do much of the same this week.

“We will be shuffling some people,” Connelly said. “Some of our athletes will be running events they don’t normally run. For example, Stephanie Madia will be running the 800 this week, even though we’d normally place her in the 3K or 5K. She’ll be getting some speed work,”

Connelly also said it was difficult to say when exactly the team would have its official lineup, as key distance runners, including All-American Molly Huddle, are still nursing injuries from cross country. In addition to the action on the track, the field events are certain to draw attention this weekend, especially in the high jump competition. Stacey Cowan’s clearing of 5 feet, 10 inches last weekend left her just an inch and a half short of her own school record, one which she hopes to break this season. The field events will begin Saturday’s meet at 10:30 a.m., with running set to begin at 2 p.m.