June 13, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Junior Jaclyn Espinoza (Keizer, Ore.) closed out Notre Dame's participation at the 2009 NCAA Championships with an impressive third place finish in the women's discus finals, held Saturday afternoon at the University of Arkansas' John McDonnell Field.
All told, the Irish women's team finished in 24th based on its 11.5 points. Texas A&M (50 points) captured the women's title, while Oregon (43) and Arizona State (41) finished in second and third, respectively. Notre Dame's 11.5 points are the second most in program history, bested only by the 1999 squad that finished with 13 points. Their 24th-place finish is also second best to the 1999 team that finished tied for 17th.
The men's team finished in 48th at the Championship based on Patrick Smyth's (Salt Lake City, Utah) five points earned with a fourth place showing in the 10,000m. With 48 points, Texas A&M also won the men's crown. The Aggies edged runners-up Oregon, Florida and Florida State, who all finished with 46 points.
NCAA Championships Results (Day Four)
Women's Discus: Espinoza, the 2009 BIG EAST outdoor champion in discus, recorded a 51.52m throw to take third place and claim USTFCCCA All-America honors, becoming the first discus All-American in Irish women's program history. She joins teammates Mary Saxer (Lancaster, N.Y.) and Smyth as 2009 outdoor track and field All-Americans.
Espinoza earned a spot in the finals with a 12th place finish (last qualifying spot) on Thursday, June 11. She posted a mark of 50.44 (165-06), good for eighth in her flight and the final spot in the finals.
Espinoza has now reached the finals in three consecutive years, and was the only non-senior to finish in the top-six in the 2009 final. In 2007, she became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to participate in the women's outdoor discus championship, placing 22nd. Last season, she again qualified for the championship and finished 25th.