April 16, 2009
UPCOMINGThe University of New Mexico track team opens a full weekend of competition tonight at the 51st Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. The Lobos' travel party will consist entirely of men's and women's middle distance and distance runners, including 2009 NCAA mile champion Lee Emanuel, who will run his first 1,500-meter race of the year on Friday night. Many of New Mexico's Mt. SAC Relays contingent will also race on Friday or Saturday at Azusa Pacific and Long Beach State.
Senior Jarrin Solomon, meanwhile, will attempt to improve his Mountain West Conference-leading time in the 400m on Saturday night at Baylor's Michael Johnson Classic. Solomon, who clocked a season-opening time of 46.90 last week at Arizona State, will be part of an elite national field in the top collegiate division in Waco.
MT. SAC RELAYS INFORMATION/RESULTSResults: www.mtsacrelays.com
Schedule: The competition begins tonight and continues late into Friday night. Lee Emanuel is scheduled to compete at 8:40 p.m. (Mountain) on Friday night in the invitational section of the 1,500.
Walnut Weather Report: The weather should be ideal for distance competition thoughout the Mt. SAC Relays. Thursday night temperatures will be in the mid 50s with a light breeze. Friday's high will reach 77 degrees, but the temperature will cool down into the low 60s with virtually no wind in the evening.
Other Action In Southern California: New Mexico will make the most of its California road trip with several athletes doubling in races at nearby Azusa Pacific (http://www.apu.edu/athletics/trackandfield/) on Friday and Long Beach State (http://www.longbeachstate.com/sports/c-track/lbst-c-track-body.html) on Saturday.
MICHAEL JOHNSON CLASSIC MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSResults: http://baylorbears.cstv.com/sports/c-track/bay-c-track-body.html
Schedule: A final schedule has not been released, but Jarrin Solomon will be competing in the top collegiate section of the men's 400m, which is expected to begin around 6 p.m. (Mountain).
Waco Weather Report: Just like last week in Tempe, Solomon could be racing between thunderstorms on what's expected to be a humid night in East Texas. The current forecast calls for a 50% chance of rain, highs in the mid-70s, and humidity nearing 78%. However, the evening schedule should help make conditions a little better for the 400m race.
EMANUEL ADDS TO MWC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK RECORDSenior Lee Emanuel shared Mountain West Conference Men's Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors the league announced on April 14. Emanuel won the 800 meters in a career-best and MWC-leading time of 1:49.21 (altitude adjusted) to help lead the UNM men to a home victory over a four-team field at the inaugural New Mexico Tailwind Invitational on April 11.
The regional-qualifying time moved the Hastings, England product into a tie for ninth in the nation, while moving him into seventh on New Mexico's all-time performers chart. It was the best time by a Lobo since 1986.
Emanuel has won four MWC Men's Athlete of the Week awards (two indoor, two outdoor) in just 1 1/2 years at UNM - two more than any other Lobo since the conference was founded in 1999-2000.
The New Mexico men have captured six Athlete of the Week awards over the past three years after winning six awards from 2000-06.
LAST TIME OUT: Tailwind InvitationalFour weather delays on an unseasonably cold, rainy, and windy day at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium didn't dampen the New Mexico Lobos' spirits in their 2009 outdoor home opener on April 11. The New Mexico men rallied in the final event of the day - the javelin - to win the team title 164-154 over second place Wyoming in the rare scored regular season meet. The UNM women finished fourth overall, 21.5 points behind first place Rice.
The meet was barely underway when the first of four 30-minute lightning delays forced the mandatory suspension of the meet. Meet officials were able to squeeze in the women's 4x100-meter relay after the second delay before sending the athletes off for an hour wait.
Any fears that the unpredictable delays would affect New Mexico national champion Lee Emanuel's outdoor debut and first-ever race at the G.F.O. UNM Track Stadium proved to be unfounded. The Hastings, England product seemed right at home in the cold, gray conditions taking charge 200 meters in the men's 800 and pulling away for a sensational victory.
Emanuel clocked an altitude adjusted time of 1:49.21 in his first race since winning the NCAA Indoor mile title exactly four weeks earlier. The career-best time moved him into seventh on the UNM all-time performers chart and was the best by a Lobo since 1986. The time was also well under the NCAA regional qualifying standard.
Junior teammates Rory Fraser (1:52.58) and Jacob Kirwa (1:52.94) finished second and third in the event, combining with Emanuel for 24 points. It was also Fraser's outdoor debut after last competing in the 5,000 at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The men's team title came down to the final event of the day as three points separated New Mexico, Wyoming, and Northern Arizona entering the javelin.
Senior Anthony Fairbanks clinched the Lobo victory early with a winning throw of 209' 10" (63.66m) on his opening toss. Sophomore Brian Wilson, an improving multi-event competitor, was third with a career-best mark of 160' 11" (49.05m), while junior discus/hammer man Matthew Henry-Marshall chipped in with a fifth place effort (137' 5" - 41.88m).
There were plenty of highlights on the women's side as well, including senior pole vaulter Whitney Johnson's remarkable return to the NCAA Regional Championships.
Johnson cleared 12' 7 ½" (3.85m) on her second attempt, marking her best performance in nearly three years since undergoing major knee surgery. The Mission Viejo, Calif. product qualified for the regional meet for the third time in her career, but first since her sophomore year of 2006 when she suffered a devastating knee injury while training for her second consecutive Midwest Regional Championship meet.
Junior Alesha Walker improved her national and regional ranking with a winning leap of 20' 10 ¾" (6.37m) in the long jump. The school record holder in the event and 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier, Walker finished two feet ahead of the runner-up, teammate Asal Salehpoor.
Senior Vanessa Strobbe capped the day with a victory in the meet final, capturing the women's javelin with a season-best throw of 131' 3" (40.02m) as the sun went down behind the stadium press box.
Sun Devil ClassicSenior Jarrin Solomon clocked an outdoor season-opening time of 46.90 - the fastest in the Mountain West Conference this spring - to finish fifth in the premier university section 400 meters on April 11 at Arizona State's Sun Devil Classic. It was Solomon's first race since earning All-America honors with a fifth place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships a month earlier.
The Albuquerque La Cueva product secured his fourth trip to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships after redshirting the 2008 outdoor season.
Later, he led the Lobos' 4x400 relay team to a time of 3:14.32 in the squad's season debut.
NATIONAL RANKINGS WATCHThe New Mexico men moved up four spots to No. 56 while the women check in at No. 47 in the week two USATFCCCA national team rankings. There are 194 teams currently ranked on the women's list and 193 on the men's side. The Lobos are fourth among the nine women's teams in the MWC and third among the six men's teams in the league.
PERSONNEL MOVESHead coach Joe Franklin announced that junior All-American Deanna Young (triple jump/long jump) will undergo knee surgery and will redshirt the 2009 outdoor season. Senior Sandy Fortner, the 2008 MWC pentathlon/heptathlon champion, will continue to redshirt outdoors while she recovers from a knee injury.
Junior long jumper/sprinter Alesha Walker, however, will return to action after redshirting the 2009 indoor season. Walker was the `09 outdoor MWC runner-up in the long jump and holds the school record in the event with a top mark of 21-04.00.
FORMER DISTANCE STAR GONZALES NAMED TO MWC ANNIVERSARY TEAMFormer University of New Mexico distance standout Matt Gonzales was named to the Mountain West Conference 10th Anniversary Men's Outdoor Track & Field Team. Gonzales earned All-America honors in the 10,000 meters at the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships, and won the 2004 MWC 5,000m title.
Gonzales was the first national track star under former head coach Matt Henry and helped spark the resurrection of the UNM men's program. The Santa Fe, N.M. product snapped a 12-year All-America drought for the Lobos with his third place finish in the 10K at the 2003 NCAA Championships. He went on to finish fourth in the event the following year to become New Mexico's first two-time All-American in the 10,000.
Gonzales still holds the UNM outdoor record in the 5,000 (13:35.59) and ranks fourth all-time at New Mexico in the 10,000 (28:17.46).
He also became the program's first NCAA regional champion with his stunning victory in the 1,500m at the 2003 NCAA Midwest Championships in Lincoln, Neb. The 5-5 Gonzales ran the fastest time of the day in the prelims and came back to shock the field again with a time of 3:42.83 that remains sixth on the UNM all-time list.
He won his lone MWC track title in 2004, cruising to the gold medal in the 5,000 in Las Vegas.
Gonzales was also named to the MWC 10th Anniversary Cross Country Team during the fall.
The 10th Anniversary Team is selected by a panel of media, institutional, and conference personnel, and an online fan poll. In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must have won an individual title at the Mountain West Conference Championship and/or attained All-American status at least once in their careers.
50 YEARS AGO...The 2009 outdoor season marks the 50th anniversary of Dick Howard's NCAA gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles. Howard clocked a time of 50.6 to become the Lobos' first NCAA track and field champion at the `59 meet in Lincoln, Neb. His performance helped the UNM men finish 10th in the team standings and marked the arrival of a new national power in track and field.
The Lobos went on to win five more gold medals and notch five top-20 finishes, including two fifth place finishes, over the next seven years. UNM also won four straight Western Athletic Conference titles from 1964-67.
Howard went on to win the bronze medal in the 400 hurdles at the 1960 Rome Olympics, finishing behind teammates Glenn Davis and Cliff Cushman. Howard died in 1967 at age 32.