Men's Track and Field: Watson qualifies for NCAA Championships
By: DAVE COOK
Qualifying for nationals is a superb accomplishment for any collegiate athlete. Qualifying in two events is even more spectacular. But being able to qualify in a third event that you won't even compete in at nationals is downright amazing.
Such is the story of Luke Watson this year in his final season with the Irish. Watson had automatically qualified for the NCAA championships in two events: the 3000- and 5000- meter going into this past weekend. He then added a third qualifying time in running a personal best mile-run at this weekend's Alex Wilson Invitational. Watson's time of 4:01.16 was a career best for him by over six seconds.
"I thought he ran terrific. He just needed to settle a bit. It [the race] wasn't quite quick enough, but then he just started to roll," head coach and men's distance coach Joe Piane said.
"This is mostly a mental boost. I knew that I was in shape enough to run a 4:01. I feel like coming out of the race that I have enough in me where I can break four [minutes] in the right race," Watson said. "This was a confidence booster to get that down on paper and to know I'm in that kind of shape one week before the championships."
Joining Watson in the distance events with a great weekend was sophomore Todd Mobley, who provisionally qualified in the 5000-meter this weekend. Mobley's seventh place time of 14:14.33 was also a career best for him in indoor track.
"Mobley ran well. He qualified for NCAA's and ran a personal best by nearly 10 seconds. He had a great race," Piane said.
Dwight Ellick ran a personal best time in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.61 seconds. Selim Nurudeen finished third place in the 60-meter hurdles while running a personal best time of 7.95 seconds.
Sprinter Trevor McClain-Duer ran his best time of his collegiate career, finishing the 400-meter race in 48.7 seconds.
In the field events, senior Quill Redwine, who is still having problems with his left leg, jumped 6' 6.75", enroute to a second-place finish. Godwin Mbagwu finished seventh in both the long jump and the triple jump.
Overall, the Irish had a strong showing leading them into the national championships.
"I thought it was great. It was a great performance," Piane said.
All Sports Stories for Monday, March 4, 2002