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ND Track and Field: Team to host Meyo Invitational

Joe Meixell | Friday, February 3, 2006

One of the most prestigious events in NCAA track and field will convene on campus this weekend when Notre Dame hosts the Meyo Invitational.

The action kicks off today at 5 p.m. at Loftus and picks up again Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Squads from all of the major conferences – including the ACC, Big 10, SEC and Big East – are slated to compete. The centerpiece of the meet is the Meyo Mile, which annually produces some of the top times in the country for that distance.

The Irish are coming off a strong performance at the Notre Dame Invitational. Junior Kurt Benninger rewrote the record books with his first-place showing in the men’s mile, clocking in with a time of 3:58.77. With that time he became the first Irish runner in Notre Dame history to record two miles under four minutes in his career.

Even more stunning is that he believes it wasn’t even his best performance.

While Benninger stole the show at the Invitational, he wasn’t the only Irish athlete to have an exceptional outing. Freshman Mary Saxer set a new Notre Dame record in the pole vault, clearing a height of 4.05 meters. While this mark is indeed a school record, it is below her personal goals. Saxer, like Benninger, is looking forward to the opportunity to better her marks as the season progresses.

One more record fell at the meet Jan. 27 with freshman Alyissa Hasan setting a new Notre Dame record in the pentathlon with 3,655 points – just short of the NCAA qualifying mark.

The competition figures to be stiff over the weekend, as some of the best squads in the nation will be competing in South Bend. Benninger, who finished fourth in last year’s mile run at the NCAA championship, is especially looking forward to the presence of the defending NCAA champion in that event, Nick Willis of Michigan.

“The defending national champion will be running, so I am anxious to compete against him,” Benninger said. “I think I am fit enough to win the event.”

Looking ahead, the Irish will travel north of the border next weekend as they compete in the Windsor Invitational, the final tuneup before the Big East Championship.