June 10, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Notre Dame junior Thomas Chamney (Tipperary, Ireland/St. Columba's) completed a highly successful week at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a sixth-place finish in the finals of the 800-meter run on Saturday afternoon at Hornet Stadium inside the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif. In addition to earning his second career All-America citation (awarded to the top eight finishers), Chamney posted a personal-best time of 1:47.64 that was second-fastest in school history, topped only in 1969 by Joe Quigley's converted 880-yard time of 1:47.5. In three races at this week's NCAA Championships, Chamney recorded three of the top 10 times in school history (all PR's), including two of the three sub-1:48 marks in the Irish record books.
Chamney's sixth-place finish is the best for a Notre Dame men's 800-meter runner at the NCAA Outdoor Championships since 1966, when Pete Farrell also took sixth. Legendary Irish runner and coach Alex Wilson was the NCAA 800-meter runner-up in 1931, a feat duplicated by John Francis in 1938.
Chamney also had placed sixth in the 800 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships back in March for his first-ever All-America certificate. He ended that meet with a personal-best time of 1:48.50, the third-quickest indoor time in school history. That also was the first time a Notre Dame 800-meter runner had ever placed in the NCAA's indoor meet -- Jeff Hojnacki qualified for the event in both 1995 and 1997, but didn't get out of the preliminary heats.
Chamney's No. 6 showing on Saturday gave Notre Dame three points in the NCAA outdoor team standings, where the Irish ended up tied for 52nd place (Florida State won the team title). Both the point total and finish were the best for Notre Dame at the NCAA outdoor meet since 2002, when the Irish shared 24th place with 10 points. Back in March at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, Notre Dame logged six points (adding a sixth-place distance medley relay finish to Chamney's outing) and tied for 33rd place.
On the women's side, the Irish finished up with 8.25 points -- eight from senior Molly Huddle (second place in 5,000 meters) and one-quarter point from senior Emily Loomis (tie-eighth place in high jump) -- good for 32nd place in the team standings (Auburn won the NCAA women's title). Notre Dame's place and score were its best showings since 2003, when the Irish took 25th place with 11 points. At this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, the Notre Dame women tied for 39th place with five points (senior Stephanie Madia took fourth in the 5,000 meters).
While this weekend's NCAA meet closed out the collegiate season for Notre Dame, Huddle still has a bit of unfinished business. She has automatically qualified in the 5,000-meter run for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, with the 5,000-meter final slated for June 23 at 8 p.m. (ET) from IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium in Indianapolis. Huddle already has a USATF title under her belt, having won the U.S. Junior National 3,000-meter crown in 2003.
2006 NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
June 10, 2006
Sacramento, Calif. (Hornet Stadium/A.G. Spanos Sports Complex)
MEN'S 800-METER FINAL: 1. Ryan Brown (Washington) 1:46.29; 6. Thomas Chamney (Notre Dame) 1:47.64.
MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS (Final): 1. Florida State 67; 52. (tie) Notre Dame 3.
WOMEN'S TEAM STANDINGS (Final): 1. Auburn 57; 32. Notre Dame 8.25.