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New Mexico Travels to Northern Arizona for Second Straight Week
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/24/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 24, 2008

The New Mexico track and field team will compete in the Friday Night Challenge in Flagstaff, Ariz. at Northern Arizona University. This is the second straight week that the Lobos have visited NAU's J.L. Walkup Skydome, which is nearly 7,000 feet above sea level. While the bulk of the team will be in Flagstaff, four elite jumpers will test the Midwest waters as they compete in the Penn State National Invitational on Saturday.

SAME PLACE DIFFERENT PEOPLE

Though the venue has not changed the Lobo squad will have a different look on Friday Night at NAU.

"It will be primarily a different group competing this weekend." head coach Joe Franklin said. "It will be a chance for people to show how they have progressed since the fall."

This is the second of at least three scheduled trips to Flagstaff for New Mexico this winter. UNM competed at the City of Albuquerque's indoor facility at the Albuquerque Convention Center in all but one meet over the past two years. This year, however, the Lobos will spend the entire indoor season on the road due to a scheduling conflict with the Convention Center. Indoor track is slated to return to the Duke City in 2009.

ELITE FOURSOME TO COMPETE AT PENN STATE

In a rare trip to Penn State some of New Mexico's top jumpers will have a chance to showcase their abilities this weekend. On Saturday All-American pole vaulter Robert Caldwell, pentathlete Sandy Fortner and high jumpers Josh Cosio and Tiyana Peters will represent New Mexico at the National Invitational in University Park, Pa.

Franklin said he is hoping to get at least two national qualifiers this meet.

"Robert Caldwell is on fire right now," he said. "Sandy Fortner had a great meet last week and Josh and Tiyana each had a good meet as well."

Caldwell will be looking to improve his national ranking after leading all collegiate competitors with a mark of 17' 2 3/4" (5.25m) at the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev. on Jan. 5. This will be the first pentathlon of the year for Fortner, a two-time NCAA provisional qualifier outdoors in the heptathlon. She competed in three events last weekend at Northern Arizona. Peters surpassed the NCAA provisional mark of 5' 10" (1.78m) last year en route to sweeping the MWC Indoor and Outdoor high jump titles. Cosio, who owns a lifetime best of 6' 10 3/4" in the high jump, will need to clear the 7-foot mark to put himself in contention for an NCAA Championship berth.

LAST TIME OUT

New Mexico got off to a solid start in the first meet of the 2008 indoor track and field season, winning three events and notching nine top-three finishes at the Northern Arizona Lumberjack Invitational on Jan. 19.

Sophomore Alesha Walker, led the women's team with a tremendous all-around performance. Walker placed second in the invitational long jump competition - just half an inch behind the winner - with an indoor-best leap of 19' 2 3/4" (5.86m) and clocked a career-best time of 7.70 (altitude adjusted) to finish fourth in the 60-meter finals.

The UNM women won three events with junior transfer Carolyn Boosey capturing the mile (5:17.93 - altitude adjusted), sophomore Deanna Young taking the triple jump (indoor-best 39' 6" (12.04m)) and junior Sandy Fortner winning the open long jump competition (18' 3" (5.56m)).

Junior transfer Lee Emanuel clocked an altitude adjusted time of 1:52.15 to lead all collegians (third overall) in the 800-meter run. Emanuel's time was just 1.05 seconds off the NCAA provisional qualifying standard and the best by a Lobo in over a decade.

LOBOS ROSTER UPDATE

New Mexico will be without the services of a pair of MWC 400 champions this winter as seniors Jarrin Solomon and Ariel Burr will both redshirt the indoor season. Solomon and Burr will return to action during the outdoor season.

The Lobos also hope to get a huge boost during the outdoor season with the return of senior Jeremy Johnson, a two-time All-American. Johnson has petitioned the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver to replace his injury-plagued 2004 outdoor track season while he was at Arizona. Johnson sat out the '04 outdoor season due to a stress fracture in his leg before returning to UNM in 2005.

Junior distance runner Leslie Luna hopes to return in the spring after undergoing surgery on her foot in November. Junior thrower Sarah Swartwood had knee sugery in December. and will redshirt both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

MWC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK NOMINATIONS (FOR JAN. 21-27)

MEN'S NOMINEE: Lee Emanuel • Jr-Tr • Hastings, England (Sheffield Hallam University) In his New Mexico track and field debut, junior transfer Lee Emanuel clocked an altitude adjusted time of 1:52.15 to lead all collegians (third overall) in the 800-meter run on Jan. 19 at Northern Arizona's Lumberjack Invitational. Emanuel's time was just 1.05 seconds off the NCAA provisional qualifying standard and the best by a Lobo since 1985. It is also the fastest time in the Mountain West Conference this season. Emanuel defeated 13 competitors in the event and finished just 0.58 seconds behind the race winner, former Chico State All-American Peter Paplanus.

WOMEN'S NOMINEE: Alesha Walker • So-1L • Killeen, Texas (Ellison HS) Sophomore Alesha Walker, enjoyed an outstanding season-debut on the track and in the field at Northern Arizona. Walker placed second in the invitational long jump competition - just half an inch behind the winner (Tec de Monterrey's Claudett Martinez) - with an indoor-best leap of 19-02.75 (5.86m). She surpassed her previous indoor best by 9.75 inches and recorded the best mark by a Lobo in the event since 2003. Walker also sliced 0.06 seconds off her indoor PR in the 60-meter dash, clocking an altitude-adjusted time of 7.70 to finish second among collegians and fourth overall (among 31 competitors) in the event finals.

Saturday, January 10
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Air Force Open *
Saturday, January 24
All Day - 
Track & Field
vs. Lobo Collegiate Invitational *
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