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Track and Field: Team to host outdoor event

Dan Murphy | Friday, March 31, 2006

The Irish team welcomes four regional foes Saturday to Moose Krause Stadium for the first outdoor home meet of the season.

The last time Notre Dame hosted an outdoor home meet was almost two years ago on April 3, 2004. The team hopes to repeat their effort in that meet, which earned Notre Dame 10 event victories.

“The early season meets are all about getting some good times under your belt and starting off the year in a strong way,” said sophomore sprinter Zach Labrecque.

Labrecque will run the 100 and 200-meter races for the Irish Saturday.

Notre Dame will also see its first conference action of the outdoor season as DePaul comes to South Bend. The meet will the Blue Demon’s second of the season after last weekend’s performance at the Southern Illinois Spring Classic. Only one DePaul runner, freshman Gabe Harris, competed at Notre Dame earlier in the year at the Alex Wilson Invite. Harris finished 10th in the 400-meter run.

Detroit-Mercy of the Horizon League, whose full team will be at Notre Dame this weekend, also sent three of their runners to the indoor invitational held at the Loftus Center in February.

Another Horizon League team, Loyola-Chicago, will also be competing this weekend. The Rambler men opened up their outdoor season placing 12th in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at the Alabama Relays. The women’s team failed to place despite the 4 x 100 relay team setting a new school record with a time of 49.25 seconds.

Central Michigan will round out the field Saturday. The Chippewa men have pulled out of the meet, but 17 members of the women’s squad will be there for their first outdoor meet.

None of the four teams will be at full strength this weekend as many of the distance runners will be racing in the nationally known Nike Stanford Invitational. The annual outdoor tournament attracts elite runners from across the country and more than 4,000 college and high school athletes are scheduled to compete.

“Some of our best athletes will be missing this weekend, so in that sense it will hurt us,” Labrecque said. “We still think we will be able to do well.”

Irish junior Thomas Chamney will lead the small Notre Dame contingent heading to Palo Alto. He is a main contender to win the 800-meter race after being named an All-American at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

On the women’s side, Molly Huddle and Stephanie Madia will make the trip to Palo Alto. Huddle makes her season debut after sitting out the winter with a leg injury.

“A lot of the girls have been running well in the past few weeks and they are showing that they are ready to race fast,” Madia said. “We are all excited to get some regional qualifiers this weekend.”

Madia traditionally runs the five-kilometer event but is giving herself a break this weekend after qualifying for the NCAA Regional Tournament last weekend in Tucson, Ariz. She will compete in the 1,500 meter run.

“I want to keep my speed pretty consistent because my ultimate goal is to continue to improve my time in the 5,000,” Madia said.