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BIG EAST Indoor Championships

League's Best at the Dome

Published February 17, 2003 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

When the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships return to the Carrier Dome next Saturday, my eyes will focus on two items of unfinished business. No one has ever run a sub-four-minute mile in the Dome, and Molly Huddle makes her Dome debut in pursuit of history.

For the record, these championships return to the Dome for the twenty-fourth year on February 22-23. Connecticut captured the first men's crown in 1980, while Villanova won the first women's title in 1983. Georgetown has won the most men's championships with 11, winning seven of the past nine years. Villanova has captured 11 women's titles, including the first six from 1983-1988.

Georgetown's Steve Holman set the Dome and BIG EAST mile record of 4:00.57 in 1992. This record may well be in jeopardy. Earlier this month, Notre Dame's Luke Watson ran 3:57.83 at the Meyo Invitational, becoming only the second Irishman ever to run a sub-four minute mile. Watson's time was also the fastest mile in the world this year. Watson.s teammates Eric Morrison and Kevin Somok followed in 4:01.90 and 4:03.82. They are likely to give him the necessary incentive for a second sub-four mile.

Watson is also the top-seed in the 3,000-meter race in 7:55.78, well inside Mark Carroll's 8-year-old record of 8:01.56. Irish teammate Tim Moore holds the season best of 14:22.17 in the 5,000 meters, far from John Trautmann's 1991 record of 13:52.84.

On the women's side, Notre Dame's Molly Huddle had a tremendous freshman season, winning the 3,000-meter race at the Meyo Invitational with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 9:14:33. This performance put her within reach of Vicki Huber's BIG EAST championship record of 9:13:11 set in 1988. As a senior at Notre Dame High School in Elmira, the quiet Huddle dominated the 2002 outdoor season, winning the New York State Championship in a State record time of 9:21.37, and the Glenn D. Loucks Games 3,200 meters in a meet record of 10:14.63.

Liverpool's Jenn Rhines set the 5,000-meter record of 16:02.67 in 1994. This record may fall to Boston College's Julie Spolidoro who ran 16:02.99 at the Terrier Classic last month. Providence College's trio of Mary Cullen, and Heather and Lisa Cappello wrap up the top seeds in this event.

Last but not least, Providence College's Roisin McGettigan ran the mile in 4:37.95 at the Terrier Classic last month, threatening Kate Vermeulen's 1999 mile record of 4:39.84. McGettigan's teammate Deirdra Byrne ran 4:40.47, and may supply the necessary support for a new record.

So come on down to the Carrier Dome next Saturday and Sunday for what may be the BIG EAST's finest indoor championships ever.

© 2003 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.

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