Following Flynt - DMR Madness

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Every sports fan knows that March is the month for college basketball. From championship week to Selection Sunday to the Big Dance, it's wall-to-wall hoops. The madness however, is not limited to just basketball.

This Friday evening, when the men's team is closing out its regular season against Providence at Purcell Pavilion, the Notre Dame track & field team will host the Alex Wilson Invitational. It's the squad's final home meet of the season, and a last opportunity for teams and individuals to qualify for next weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise, Id.

The meet begins on Friday at 6 pm, and flotrack.org will be streaming the running events beginning at 7 pm ET. The evening lineup includes four exciting races, the men's and women's 5,000m, as well as the men's and women's distance medley relay (DMR).

The Loftus Center track is one-fifth of a mile, making it as large as any other indoor track in the nation. Being bigger than most indoor facilities, Notre Dame's track provides teams with an excellent opportunity to run their best times of the season.

Among the programs running in the men's DMR this year are Ohio State, Penn State, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Arkansas. Over the years, teams have used this race to make an incredible final push for the NCAA championships. In 2009, 15 of 18 teams met the automatic qualifier standard, and last year, six of 12 met this mark.

Notre Dame's DMR team will include senior Johnathan Shawel, freshman Chris Giesting, senior Randall Babb and junior Jeremy Rae.

Friday's 5,000m races with feature five Irish runners - junior Jessica Rydberg, senior Rachel Velarde and senior Molly Hirt on the women's side, along with freshman Jake Kildoo and sophomore Patrick Lesiewicz in the men's event.

The Alex Wilson Invitational will continue on Saturday and Notre Dame football players Josh Atkinson and Bennett Jackson are listed on the heat sheets. Jackson is scheduled to run in the 60m hurdles, which begin at 11:10 am. Atkinson is set for the 60m dash (11:25 am) and 200m dash (1:40 pm).

Read more on the Alex Wilson Invy on flotrack.org, and if you're not at the basketball game, tune in on Friday to see some exciting track action live from the Loftus Center.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

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