Three men post NCAA qualifying marks
By KATHLEEN O'BRIEN
Assistant Sports Editor
Phil Mishka and Marshaun West put their senior leadership into play Friday, leading the Irish to victory with individual wins that met NCAA qualifying standards.
The men's squad started off the season by beating Western Michigan, Ball State and Michigan State easily. Notre Dame finished 26 points ahead of Western Michigan, on the strength of seven event victories.
"The Big East is always the big focus for us," Mishka said. "I think we took a few giant steps towards winning that tonight, which would be really great for the seniors. We've never been able to bring that home."
Mishka won the 800-meter dash in 1 minute, 49.68 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. That time was good enough to earn the senior runner a provisional qualification for the NCAA Indoors Championships. He also ran a leg in the victorious men's 4 x 400-meter relay team.
West, a senior All-American, leapt 25-4 1/2 in the long jump, falling just shy of breaking his own Notre Dame record. The mark met provisional NCAA qualifying standards, which earns him a spot to jump at nationals if there are not enough jumpers who meet the automatic qualifying mark.
"I want to get an automatic, because you never know with a provisional," West said. "I didn't get that mark until much later in the season last year."
Sophomore distance runner Luke Watson was the third member of the men's squad who met provisional qualifying standards. Watson carried the 3,000-meter race with a winning time of 8:09.50.
"I've never in 26 years," head track and field coach Joe Piane said, "had four people qualify for nationals in the first meet of the year. That's amazing."
Senior Chris Cochran scored a double-win in the sprints, winning both the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. He also led off the first place 4 x 400-meter relay.
"On the men's side, we had a lot of personal bests," sprint coach John Millar said. "Chris Cochran ran his best times ever in the 60 and the 200, and just missed an NCAA qualifying time. Terry Wray ran the fastest 400 he's run since he's been here. Travis Davey ran the fastest 200 and fastest 60 that he's ever run."
Wray finished third in the 400-meter dash, while Davey placed among the top six in both his events.
Senior Tim Kober ran the third-fastest time in Notre Dame history in the 600-meter run, winning the event in 1:19.88. He also anchored the 4 x 400-meter relay with a 48.2 leg.
"We did extremely well if you think it's the first meet of the season," Kober said.
Besides Cochran, Mishka and Kober, freshman Nick Setta was the fourth leg on the 4 x 400-meter relay team.
All Sports Stories for Monday, January 24, 2000