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ND Track: Irish set to host home competition at Loftus

Jay Fitzpatrick | Friday, January 26, 2007

Notre Dame will continue its early indoor track season with another home meet today in the Notre Dame Invitational.

So far this season, the Irish have proven themselves very capable of succeeding indoors.

Notre Dame’s season began at home in the Loftus Center with the Blue and Gold Invitational. Irish competitors dominated the meet with 42 Big East qualifying times and scores across the board.

For the women’s team, the distance runners performed especially well, with five qualifying for the Big East championships Feb. 17-18 in Akron, Ohio. Highlighting the team’s performance on the men’s side was sophomore Patrick Smyth’s second-place finish in the 5,000-meter run in 14:00.73. Smyth’s time was good enough for an NCAA provisional qualifier.

At the Purdue Invitational Jan. 13, the Irish had numerous Big East qualifiers, including sophomore Anna Weber in the throwing events and sophomore Mary Saxer in the pole vault.

In the Notre Dame Indoor Opener Jan. 20, the Irish were dominant in all aspects of the meet.

The men’s and women’s teams combined for 15 event winners, as well as 15 additional qualifiers to the Big East Championships.

The Notre Dame distance runners on the women’s side were again able to put up strong numbers. Senior runner Amy Kohlmeier crossed the line for the mile at 4:55.66, only to be followed by four straight Irish runners.

One difference between the Notre Dame Invitational and the other meets this season is as simple as the athletes competing for the Irish.

“We have a couple of guys that haven’t run yet, a guy in particular – [freshman sprinter] Jeff Farnell – that will be a big impact,” senior sprinter Ryan Postel said. “He has had a problem with his hamstring, so coach hasn’t let him run yet.”

But the Irish athletes will compete this weekend in various, not necessarily familiar events.

“We are going to be doing some things differently. A lot of us will be in events that we normally wouldn’t be in,” said Postel, who will runn in the 200-meter dash.

Postel normally runs longer sprints, including the 400-meter event.

Even though the Irish are already entering their third tournament of the indoor season, their focus still lies ahead to the tough matchups later on.

“The Notre Dame Invitational is sort of like a primary for the race next week, the Meyo Invitational,” Postel said. “So we don’t have any specific goals for this race.”