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ND Women’s Track: Phone call comes late, but not too late

Kiefer, Ryan | Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Last Thursday, junior Stephanie Madia had not qualified to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships. But a phone call later that night informed her of a late scratch and called for an early morning flight on Friday.

Having run the 20th best time at the 3,000-meter distance in the NCAA this season, Madia found herself one position out of the field of 19 runners, or exactly 1.6 seconds behind the next fastest runner. She was informed late Thursday, however, that there was a late scratch, opening a place for her in the field. The junior boarded the first plane out Friday morning and was on the track Saturday morning in Fayetteville, Ark., earning a 12th place finish, running a time of 9:36.67.

Irish coach Tim Connelly was pleased that Madia had the opportunity to run and was very impressed with her result.

“She was the last runner in, so for her to beat anyone was an accomplishment. She didn’t think she was running on the weekend, so she had a high mileage week with significant weight training. For her to run that well on tired legs was quite an accomplishment,” Connelly said.

This weekend’s performance comes as part of a mid-season resurgence for Madia, who ran extremely well in four events at the Big East Championships and ran a season best time of 9:22.50 at the Alex Wilson Invitational a week ago.

“She showed she can compete with the best in the country – she just faded in the last 800, and that can be attributed to the intense training early in the week,” Connelly said.

The only other athlete to represent the Irish women at the NCAA’s was junior high jumper Stacey Cowan. Making her second NCAA appearance, Cowan struggled to a 19th place finish, clearing 1.73 meters (5-7.75 feet), three inches short of her season best.

“In the technical events, you have to be in sync to succeed. Stacey for whatever reason seemed out of sync over the weekend,” Connelly said.

Cowan will use her NCAA experience as she rejoins her teammates for the first outdoor meet of the season, the Willie Williams Invitational, Friday and Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.