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Track and Field: Six to compete at NCAAs

Bill Brink | Friday, March 9, 2007

With a men’s conference title already under its belt, Notre Dame will compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships today and Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.

Six runners at the NCAA Indoor Championships will represent Notre Dame – two individual runners and a four-person relay team.

Head coach Joe Piane is incredibly proud of his team and has found a creative way to put the team’s accomplishment in perspective.

“There are 310 Division I teams,” he said. “If everyone had five guys in the mile, that’s 1,500 milers. They take 15 guys. That means one percent of all the athletes get into the meet. You have to be a pretty incredible athlete or pretty incredible relay just to get into the meet.

“There are teams, like Alabama, that have one athlete in – and they’re happy. It’s hard to get in.”

Senior Thomas Chamney will run the 800 meters – his best finish (1:47.82) is the second-fastest time in both the country and in the history of Notre Dame indoor track.

Irish junior Jake Watson will compete in the mile. In the Meyo Invitational Feb. 3, he ran a 4:00.71 mile at the Loftus Center – good for ninth overall in the nation and third fastest in school history.

The Irish distance medley relay composed of Watson, junior John Cavanaugh, senior Ryan Postel and senior Todd Ptacek will round out the Irish representation in Fayetteville. At the Alex Wilson Invitational last weekend, the group posted a season-best time of 9:35.71 – third-best in school history. Junior Adam Currie will also attend as an alternate for the distance medley relay.

Of the athletes traveling, Piane feels that they all have a chance to score.

“We’ve got kids that are very good, and quite frankly, I think Watson can get into the finals and possibly score,” he said. “I think we can get some points out of our distance medley and hopefully some points out of Chamney – the kids that are going have the potential to score.”

The Irish mile relay team fell just short of the championships. The top 11 teams were invited to race – Notre Dame was ranked 12th.

Piane said the intensity of practice has decreased in preparation for the championships.

“You just don’t do a lot,” Piane said. “At this point in time, you can’t get them in better shape. You just want to make sure that they’re sharp and they do have a little bit of speed, but you don’t kill them this week.”

This is the largest squad Notre Dame has ever sent to the championships. In three of the past four years, the team has sent five athletes.