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Track & Field: Women take Big East title

Jason Galvan | Monday, February 20, 2006

The Irish track and field team came up big in Akron, Ohio this weekend, with the women’s team taking home the Big East Conference Indoor Championship and the men finishing third for their 11th straight finish among the top three at this meet.

The women ended their dramatic Sunday run with 109.5 points, surging past second-place Georgetown (86) and erasing a late 18-point deficit.

“Everyone did a great job,” senior distance runner Stephanie Madia said. “It just shows our ability to work together as a team.”

Though the Irish finished with only one individual win on the day – junior Maryann Erigha’s 200-meter dash victory (23.96) – nearly every event saw an Irish athlete add to the point total, which was eventually enough to come away with the win. The Irish women finished as runners-up in the conference championships the past three seasons after winning in 2002.

“I feel good. I’m really happy about the team and the way everyone pushing everyone else,” Erigha said. “I feel like we really bonded this weekend. It was really a collective effort – everyone made a difference in how it all turned out.”

“I think we’re all really excited – we went in with the expectation of winning, and we met it,” Madia said. “It’s a great feeling, and a big relief.”

The Irish men finished in third place with 94.5 points, trailing first- and second-place finishers Connecticut (135) and Rutgers (124).

Junior Thomas Chamney did his part in the team’s top-three finish, winning the 800-meter run (1:49.88) and anchoring the Irish to victory in the 4×800 meter relay (7:28.84).

The Irish now look ahead to the Alex Wilson Invitational, slated to take place at the Loftus Sports Center March 3-4.

That will be the last meet before the NCAA Indoor Championships are held at Fayetville, Ark. during the weekend of March 10-11.

The Alex Wilson Invitational will also be the last opportunity for members of both teams to qualify for the NCAA meet.

However, after an impressive showing at the Big East Championship, the team is looking to spend some time resting during the next few days and working to perfect certain detailed aspects of events in time for the next meet.

“This week, we’ll probably take a step back, rest, and work on a few technical things, fine tuning before the Alex Wilson meet,” Erigha said.

“We’ll just make sure we’re recovered, get to work, and go and get ready to have a lot of NCAA qualifying runs at the Alex Wilson.”