Track and Field
Irish host Meyo Invitational
Evan Anderson | Thursday, February 6, 2014
Notre Dame plays host to competitors from nearly 80 teams from around the country this weekend at the 27th annual Meyo Invitational at the Loftus Sports Center
Irish coach Joe Piane said he thought a successful showing at the New Mexico Invitational last week and the opportunity to compete in front of home fans would give the team a boost this weekend.
“A weekend like last weekend always gives the kids a ton of confidence,” Piane said. “There’s [also] always that extra motivation at home … all of these kids are going to be performing, running, jumping, throwing in front of their friends and family. It’s special.”
In New Mexico, the Irish women finished fourth out of nine teams, and the men placed third in a field that included UCLA, Arizona State, TCU and New Mexico, but Notre Dame will compete against a larger field at the Meyo Invitational.
The Meyo Mile and the Ryan Shay men’s 3000-meter run are hallmarks of Notre Dame’s signature meet.
Named for 1964 Notre Dame graduate Raymond Meyo, whose donation funded the track in Loftus, the Meyo Mile was the brainchild of longtime Piane in 1988. Noted for its fast times, the event has become a fan favorite after nearly 30 years of competition. In the last five years alone, the event final has seen 11 sub-four-minute miles.
Piane said the race holds special significance for him as well as the Notre Dame track and field program.
“[The Meyo Mile] is a special race,” Piane said. “It was the very first race that we held on this track when it was new 27 years ago, and since that day the goal every single year has been to get somebody under four [minutes].”
This year marks the return of Irish graduate student and middle distance runner Jeremy Rae to the Mayo Mile. As a sophomore and junior, Rae won the event with times of 3:59.62 and 3:59.31, respectively, before missing his senior indoor season due to injury.
“Jeremy is a special runner and a sub-four-minute miler, but I’ll tell you what, we have a couple of other guys that I think can get under four also,” Piane said. “It will be a fun race.”
The men’s 3,000-meter run is named for 2001 Notre Dame graduate and 10,000-meter NCAA champion Ryan Shay, a nine-time All-American and an Academic All-American at Notre Dame who later won the 2003 USA Marathon.
Shay died in 2007 after an enlarged heart caused him to collapse during the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.
Piane said he is proud to once again host the event, which was renamed to honor Shay in 2008.
“Ryan Shay was a special person, and he was the most decorated athlete in the history of this university,” Piane said. “The race is particularly special to me because I was fortunate enough to know him and to coach him … as a coach the expectation is always that we run fast, but this event does mean a lot.”
Senior sprinter Patrick Feeney, senior sprinter and hurdler Megan Yanik will aim to defend last year’s first place finishes in the 400-meter dash and the 500-meter dash, respectively.
The action kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday at Loftus Center, and resumes at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Meyo Mil¬¬e will be run at 3:00 p.m. Saturday for the men and at 3:10 p.m. for the women, and will be followed at the Ryan Shay 3,000-meter run at 4:25 p.m.