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Irish rack up twelve victories in home opener

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 23, 2006

The Notre Dame track and field squad opened up the 2006 home season with a stellar performance Friday evening at Loftus. It was good warm-up for the rest of the season, with regional competition from Western Michigan, Butler and Loyola Chicago, among others. The meet was highlighted by 12 victories, including another NCAA qualification, this time by Oketchi Ogbuokiri.

Ogbuokiri turned in best performance of the evening for the Irish. The New Jersey native finished the 400 meters with a time of 54 flat, just under her personal 54.03. The 54.00 is good enough to provisionally qualify Ogbuokiri for the NCAA indoor championships, to be held in March.

Ogbuokiri wasn’t the only Irish sprinter to make an impact on the meet. Fellow junior Maryann Erigha took home top honors in the 200 meters, turning in a time of 24.19 seconds. Ogbuokiri was right behind her, finishing in second with a time of 25.09. Freshman standout Alyissa Hasan blew away the competition in the 60 meter hurdles, cruising to a victory with a time of 8.94 seconds.

Erigha also turned in a solid performance in the 60 meters, posting a time of 7.53 seconds, good enough for a victory and a Big East qualification.

Not to be outdone by the sprinters, the distance runners also had respectable outings. All-American Stephanie Madia, along with freshman Ramsey Kavan, finished one-two in the mile, both qualifying for the Big East championship. Teammate Amy Kohlmeier also placed, coming home in the fourth position. In the 800 meters, sophomore Jackie Carter took third place, also qualifying for the Big East championship.

For the men, Garrett Koxlien again led the way for the throwers, finishing first in the weight throw. Four of the first seven spots in the weight throw were occupied by the Irish.

“We always have the goal of improving our marks and working towards marks that will help gain our team points for the Big East Conference championship,” sophomore thrower Kyle Annen said. That improvement can definitely be seen in the past two weeks, and will only continue to help the squad as the Irish make their way into the tougher portion of the schedule.

This week, the Irish look to continue their improvement as they host the Notre Dame Invitational. The meet will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday in Loftus, and is the second of three consecutive home meets for the Irish.