March 22, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - The University of New Mexico track and field team got off to a great start in its 2008 outdoor season opener as four Lobos qualified for the NCAA Regional Championship on Saturday at Arizona State's Baldy Castillo Invitational. Pole vaulter Robert Caldwell, high jumper Tiyana Peters and javelin throwers Anthony Fairbanks and Katie Coronado all qualified for the West Regional Championships, which will be held at ASU's Sun Angel Stadium in late May.
New Mexico's powerful javelin duo of Fairbanks and Coronado were sensational, following a tune-up meet last week in Las Vegas as both surpassed the regional mark for the third straight season.
Fairbanks smashed his previous best by over seven feet and missed Donnie Lujan's 1991 school record by just five inches with a throw of 224' 11" (68.55m) on his final attempt. The Albuquerque Highland product finished second overall, three feet behind Arizona State senior and 2007 NCAA Championship participant Brad Roth.
Coronado dominated the field of 21, winning the event by nearly 18 feet with a season-best throw of 168' 8" (51.40). The Ruidoso, N.M. product's mark was 14 inches off her own school record, which she set in April of 2007.
Caldwell, meanwhile, was the top collegiate finisher and second overall in the men's pole vault with a mark of 17' 2 ¾" (5.25m) in his first official outdoor competition since the 2006 NCAA Championships. The Socorro, N.M. product surpassed the NCAA regional standard for the fourth year after redshirting in 2007. UNM pole vault coach Derek Mackel won the event, competing unattached, with a meet record clearance of 17' 6 ½".
Peters - a three-time Mountain West Conference champion - punched her ticket to the regional meet for the second year in a row, winning the women's high jump with a mark of 5' 8 ¾" (1.75m).
Other Lobo highlights from Saturday's meet included:
-Junior Josh Cosio just missing the regional qualifying mark and finishing fourth in the men's high jump with a leap of 6' 8 ¾" (2.05m).
-Senior Ariel Burr leading all collegians and finishing second overall in the 200 (24.49) in her first race of 2008 after redshirting indoors.
-The men's 4x100 relay team of Chris Keeling, Jarrin Solomon, Kurt Henry and Philip Reid clocking a time of 41.82 - its best in two years - to finish second...the race marked the 2008 debut for Solomon and Henry who both redshirted indoors.
-Junior Christina Zarrella leading all collegians and finishing second overall in the women's 400 with a career-best time of 57.39.
-Sophomore Kim Perkins winning the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:02.39 - 0.03 seconds off her PR.