Elmira's Huddle places second at national meet - Catholic Courier

Elmira’s Huddle places second at national meet

Highlighted by a recent second-place finish nationally, Molly Huddle — who set numerous local, state and national running records while attending Elmira Notre Dame High School — has continued to excel at the University of Notre Dame.

Huddle, a senior at the University of Notre Dame, posted a time of 16 minutes, 5.93 seconds in the 5,000-meter run at the women’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 9. The national meet was held at Sacramento State University in California.

Her second-place showing marked the best finish ever by a Notre Dame female track athlete, either indoors or outdoors. The only person to top Huddle’s 16:05.93 time was Mary Cullen of Big East Conference rival Providence College, who came in at 16:01.39.

Huddle’s finish marked her ninth All-American performance at Notre Dame, where she also has been a standout in cross-country and indoor track. She excelled at nationals despite missing much of this past year with a foot injury. Though she was a senior in 2005-06 and recently graduated, Huddle — who will turn 22 on Aug. 31 — plans to use her remaining year of eligibility for indoor and outdoor track in 2006-07 while launching graduate studies.

The second place at nationals was Huddle’s second All-American performance this past school year. Her other All-American came in the NCAA cross-country nationals last fall, where she placed 15th.

Her other seven All-American finishes were:

* 2002-03 — cross-country, sixth place; indoor track 3,000 meters, ninth; and outdoor 5,000 meters, fourth. In addition, she helped the Fighting Irish cross-country team to a third-place finish nationally, the highest placement in team history. She also won her first individual Big East title, placing first in the outdoor 5,000 meters.

* 2003-04 — cross-country, 41st; indoor 5,000 meters, third; indoor 3,000 meters, seventh; outdoor 5,000 meters, third. She also captured both the indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter titles at the Big East Championships.

In her junior year of 2004-05, although she wasn’t an All-American, Huddle helped the cross-country squad to a fourth-place finish nationally. She also finished seventh in the 5,000-meter finals at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, the best showing by any collegian/non-professional athlete.

Huddle is a 2002 graduate of Notre Dame High School, where she was the undisputed best female high-school runner in New York state — if not the country, based on her showing at a national competition shortly after graduation. At the Adidas Outdoor Track and Field Championships, she posted a new national girls’ high-school mark in the two-mile run; her time of 10:03.2 broke a record that had stood for 23 years. She also placed second in the one-mile run at nationals.

As a high-school senior, Huddle set a new record in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:21.37 at the state outdoor championships, shattering a 20-year-old mark. She won the 1,500 as well that year, successfully defending the state titles she had earned in both events her junior season.

In the fall of 2001, Huddle won the state cross-country crown in her only high-school season ever in that sport, competing as a one-person team due to her school not otherwise having a program. She went on to finish fourth at the Foot Locker National Championships that year. The versatile athlete, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes, also competed in soccer and basketball while at Notre Dame.

An excellent student, Huddle drew interest from other prestigious colleges such as Duke, Princeton and Stanford. She chose to accept an athletic scholarship at Notre Dame, from which her father and high-school coach, Robert, graduated in 1969. She is pursuing a career as a surgeon; her dad is a surgeon as well.

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