WOMENS TRACK: Irish glad for one more look at NCAA competition
By HEATHER VAN HOEGARDEN
In what some may deem as one of the "last chance" meets in the nation, hundreds of the nation's best track and field athletes will compete this Friday and Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Loftus Sports Center.
With the Big East conference meet over after a second-place finish, the Notre Dame women's track team looks to qualify more athletes for the NCAA Championship.
Senior pole vaulter Jaime Volkmer cleared 4.00 meters to earn a Big East individual championship, and is currently 19th on the NCAA list. Teammates Laura Huarte and Jill VanWeedlen join her, as they look to clear 4.05 meters to secure spots. Volkmer would be the first Irish pole vaulter to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship.
In the high jump, All-Big East volleyball player Emily Loomis looks to qualify for her second-career NCAA Championship, as she is currently 19th on the NCAA lists.
In what promises to be a competitive race, the women's mile includes Lauren King, who has already qualified in the 3,000 meters. Teammate Molly Huddle is fourth in the 3,000 meters, and looks to qualify in the mile as well.
Freshman Petra Dankova, an all-Big East performer in the triple jump, looks to improve on her ranking of 33rd, as she looks for an automatic qualifying jump.
In the 5,000 meters, Jennifer Handley hopes to make the cut as well, as she competed in the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet in the 10,000 meters.
Finally, Tiffany Gunn, Kristen Dodd, Kymia Love and Ayesha Boyd look to qualify in the 4x440 relay. Dodd, Love and Boyd have the experience necessary, as all three earned All-America honors in this relay just a year ago.
Notre Dame also has a few athletes who have already secured spots in the field.
Huddle and King both have qualified for the 3,000 meters, with Huddle holding the school record.
Another school-record holder, long jumper Tameisha King, has already qualified, as she is 12th in the NCAA.
The Irish as a team look to send as many athletes to Fayetteville as possible, despite the stiff competition the Alex Wilson Invitational proves to provide. The meet starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and carries over to 1 p.m. Saturday at Loftus Sports Center.
All Sports Stories for Friday, March 7, 2003