TRACK: Irish weather meet, turn in solid performance
By ANDREW SOUKUP
Associate Sports Editor
Last weekend, a select number of athletes from the men's and women's track teams competed at the prestigious Mt. Sac Relays held in California. Despite difficult weather conditions, several Notre Dame athletes turned in solid performances.
The quality of competition at the meet was extremely high because amateur and professional athletes were allowed to compete side-by-side with college athletes.
For the Irish, Ryan Shay turned in yet another outstanding performance. In the 5,000 meter run, Shay finished 18th overall — ninth among college runners — and ran a 13:54, fast enough to earn an NCAA provisional qualifying time.
"I was glad to get an NCAA qualifying time," he said. "I did want to run faster than what I did. The conditions weren't the best because it was raining."
The senior All-American battled for most of the race with a very tight pack.
"There were so many good guys in my heat," Shay said. "There were about 30 guys and they all run about the same time. So the traffic was pretty tight and a lot of people got tripped up."
Shay, who automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000-meter run last month, could potentially compete in both the 5,000 and the 10,000 at the national championships. But he wasn't sure whether he would compete in both or just specialize in one event.
Junior Pat Conway won his second consecutive 1,500-meter race, although he ran in the second heat rather than the fast heat. Conway crossed the line in 3:50.
"He looked really strong and he competed very well," Shay said. "He won his heat. I think if he would have been in the best heat he would have run a better time. I know he wasn't happy with his time and he wants to go faster."
Because of the poor weather, the Irish coaching staff restricted the number of jumps Tom Gilbert and Quill Redwine were able to take. Nevertheless, both turned in solid performances.
Gilbert placed fourth in the long jump with a mark of 22 feet, 8 inches, the best mark on the team this spring.
Meanwhile, Redwine finished ninth in the triple jump with a team best 47-3. In the high jump, he cleared 6-8 to take fourth place.
On the women's side, a pair of Notre Dame athletes turned in solid performances. Freshman Megan Johnson continued her tear through the 1,500-meter run by running a 4:30. Her time was fast enough to earn her a third-place finish in her heat.
Meanwhile, sophomore Tameisha King ran 14.45 in the 100-meter hurdles to take fourth place in her section.
The men and women will take to the track next week at one of two locations in a final tune-up for the Big East Championships, which begin March 2. Some athletes will travel to Iowa to compete in the Drake Relays, while the rest of the team will compete in the Purdue Invitational.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 24, 2001