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Track and Field: Irish run into nation’s fastest at NCAA finals

Joe Meixell | Friday, March 10, 2006

Notre Dame is looking for one last meet of strong finishes.

The Irish will have seven athletes competing at the last winter track event of the year – this weekend’s NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. at the University of Arkansas’ Randall Tyson Track Center.

One of Notre Dame’s best chances to place on the men’s side comes in the distance relay. Senior Ryan Postel, junior Thomas Chamney, junior All-American Kurt Benninger and sophomore Adam Currie will be running in the event. Benninger will also compete in the 3,000-meter run, and Thomas Chamney will be running the 800-meter dash. Sophomore John Cavanaugh will serve as an alternate.

On the women’s side, senior All-American distance runner Stephanie Madia will compete in the 5,000-meter run, while freshman Ramsey Kavan will participate in the mile.

A year ago, Madia found out only two days before the meet that she would be competing. Now, with a little more time to rest up and focus mentally, she has another opportunity to add to an already outstanding track career.

Madia is in the competition based on the strength of her time at the Alex Wilson Invitational of 16:02.14. It was the seventh-fastest time in the nation and earned an automatic invitation to the finals. Kavan improved her time at the Alex Wilson as well by posting a time of 4:38.78 and taking the 15th fastest time in the nation.

“It’s a relief to me to be able to go in and not have to prepare last minute again,” Madia said. “I just think that the level of competition is so high, it’s just an awesome experience to be able to compete at the biggest indoor meet of the year.”

Thomas Chamney, expected to be a strong contender in the men’s 800-meter dash, remembers his first taste of the NCAA championships well.

“When I was a freshman, I didn’t have a clue,” Chamney said. “I was on the [distance medley relay] that year, and I remember being [awed] by the size of the meet. I had never experienced anything like it, with four- to fi

Benninger is coming off his best season, posting his second sub-four minute mile at the Notre Dame Invitational in January. He holds the fourth fastest time in the nation this year for the 3,000-meter run – his 7:52.28 at the Meyo Invitational.

“I think we all get along really well,” Benninger said. “We have a good group of guys and we’re all really excited to finally run at nationals.”