July 13, 2004
Molly Huddle (Elmira, N.Y.) ended her spectacular sophomore season at Notre Dame by finishing seventh in the finals of the women's 5,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Sacramento, Calif., late Monday night. The seventh-place effort is an outstanding finish for the 19-year old, who ended up as the top collegiate/non-professional runner in the race.
Huddle finished the 5,000-meter race in 15:37.92. Shayne Culpepper won the race in 15:07.41, followed by Marla Runyan (15:07.48) and Shalane Flanagan (15:10.52).
The top effort at the Olympic Trials is a fitting ending to Huddle's spectacular second year at Notre Dame. A four-time All-American in 2003-04 (cross country, indoor 3,000 meters, indoor 5,000 meters, outdoor 5,000 meters), Huddle has already established herself as the most decorated female athlete in Notre Dame history. She has earned seven All-America certificates in just two years with the Irish and will return next fall to anchor one of the best cross country teams in the nation (Huddle helped Notre Dame finish third at the '02 NCAA cross country championship).
In other Notre Dame track and field news, former standout cross country/distance runner Luke Watson moved on to the finals of the 5,000 meters at the trials on Monday night. Watson finished fifth in heat one, logging a time of 13:45.53. Tim Broe ended up as the top qualifier with a 13:42.19 effort. The final of the men's 5,000 meters will be Friday, July 16, at 8:55 p.m. (west coast time).
Also in action on Monday evening was Watson's classmate and '03 graduate Tameisha King. One of the top long jumpers in the nation, King ended up sixth in the preliminaries with a top jump of 6.41m (21-0 1/2). Ola Sesay was the top qualifier with a jump of 6.63m (21-9). The finals of the women's long jump will be Thursday, July 15, at 5:45 p.m. (west coast time).
King, who served as a volunteer assistant coach at Notre Dame in 2003-04 while working on her graduate studies and training for a possible Olympic team berth, is the second volunteer assistant coach for Notre Dame to appear in an Olympic Trial event. Peta Gaye-Dowdie, who has worked with Notre Dame's sprinters over the last two years while training under Irish sprint coach John Millar, has captured a spot in the Olympics as part of the Jamaican National Team. Gaye-Dowdie will run on the 4x100-meter relay team and possibly will appear in the 200 meters as well.
One current Irish athlete has yet to see action in the Olympic Trials. Junior Selim Nurudeen, a four-time BIG EAST Champion, will begin qualifying in the 110-meter hurdles on Saturday, July 17.