Lobos Continue Indoor Homestand, Host Dennis Heimrich Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/31/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

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Jan. 31, 2007

The University of New Mexico will host its fourth collegiate invitational of the season this weekend when it welcomes four teams for the Dennis Heimrich Invitational. The action at the Albuquerque Convention Center gets underway on Friday at 6 p.m. and resumes on Saturday at 10 a.m. Friday's events are free to the public and tickets will be available at the door on Saturday - $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for ages 5 and under.

Live results will be available on www.recordtiming.com.

Athletes from Division II national power Adams State, Cal State L.A., San Francisco State and Southern California, along with several unattached athletes, will be among those visiting the Convention Center for the Heimrich Invite. The meet is named in honor of longtime Albuquerque track & field official and starter Dennis Heimrich. Heimrich continues to work every UNM home meet.

New Mexico will spend the entire 2007 indoor season at home at the Convention Center. The Lobos will host the Mountain West Conference Championship meet for the second straight season, Feb. 22-24.

The following is a list of New Mexico athletes ranked among the top-5 in the Mountain West Conference in their respective events through the first month of the 2007 indoor season:

Men's 400m - No. 2 Jarrin Solomon (47.34)

Men's 3,000m - No. 1 Jeremy Johnson (8:09.94*)

Men's 5,000m - No. 1 Jeremy Johnson (14:26.94*), No. 2 Juan Ortega (14:40.31*)

Men's 60m Hurdles - No. 5 Mark Lamb (8.29*)

Mens' 4x400m Relay - No. 1 UNM (T. Siemon, Ku. Henry, J. Solomon, R. McCain) (3:15.67)

Men's Distance Medley Relay - No. 2 UNM (B. Vallie, Ku. Henry, N. Argüelles, J. Johnson) (10:06.12*)

Men's High Jump - No. 3 Josh Cosio (6' 7")

Women's 200m - No. 3 Ariel Burr (24.55)

Women's 400m - No. 2 Ariel Burr (55.55)

Women's 4x400m Relay - No. 5 UNM (Zarrella, Burr, Perkins, Pritchard) (3:58.83)

Women's Distance Medley Relay - No. UNM (Brasher, Pritchard, Green, McCabe) (13:04.57*)

Women's High Jump - No. 2 Tiyana Peters (5' 7")

Women's Triple Jump - No. 3 Hagit Salamon (39' 10 1/4")

Women's Pentathlon - No. 3 Sandy Fortner (3,709), No. 5 Tiffeny Parker (2,776)

Dan DeHart Invitational (Jan. 26-27) - UNM continued its steady improvement with several strong performances during the Dan DeHart Invitational. Junior Ariel Burr and the men's 4x400 relay team provided two of the Saturday highlights for the Lobos. Burr sparked the New Mexico women to an eighth place finish (40 points) in the 16-team field with her fourth place finish in the 200-meter dash. The all-Mountain West Conference 400 runner clocked a personal best time of 24.55, one of the fastest in seventh-year head coach Matt Henry's tenure, in a rare drop to 200 meters. Burr defeated 38 other runners in the field of 42.

The men's team, meanwhile, got its best performance from the quartet of Taylor Siemon, Kurt Henry, Jarrin Solomon and Randle McCain in the 4x400-meter relay. The group clocked a season-best time of 3:15.67, defeating Arizona State, California and Kansas State en route to a third place finish overall. New Mexico finished seventh (47 points) out of 10 in the overall men's team standings.

On Friday, junior Juan Ortega ran a strong fourth in the men's 3,000 and senior Mark Lamb clocked the fastest 60-meter hurdles time of his career, recording a time of 8.29* in the prelims en route to a sixth place finish in Saturday's finals. The Cimmarron, N.M. native surpassed his previous best in the event by a stunning 0.19 seconds.

On the women's side, meanwhile, sophomore Tiyana Peters matched her career-best in the high jump with a clearance of 5' 7" - good for a sixth place finish in one of the meet's most competitive fields. Freshman Alesha Walker narrowly missed a spot in the 60-meter dash finals, winning her heat, but finishing 11th overall with a season-best time of 7.77*.

Roger Cox Multis (Jan. 26) - Sophomore Sandy Fortner put together the best performance of her young career in the pentathlon, finishing sixth at the Roger Cox Multis with a career-high score of 3,706. Fortner turned in personal records in her first three events to surpass the NCAA provisional qualifying standard by six points. She destroyed her previous best in the pentathlon by over 300 points and became the first UNM woman to eclipse the NCAA provisional qualifying standard since current coach Keren Bentzur in 2003 (3,845 points).

A product of tiny Fort Sumner, N.M. (town population 1,008), Fortner opened with a personal record time of 9.08* in the 60-meter hurdles - 0.11 seconds faster than her top time a year ago. After clearing an indoor best of 5' 4" in the high jump, she gave herself a big boost with a third place finish in the shot put. Fortner's mark of 38' 6" was over two feet better than her previous best. A leap of 18' 1" inches gave her fifth the long jump and she wrapped up her career day with a time of 2:30.30* en route to a sixth place finish in the 800-meters.

Elswhere for the Lobos, freshman Tiffeny Parker finished 13th (2,776) in her first career multi-event competition, while redshirt freshman Kelly Fortner, Sandy's twin sister, was 15th (1,159) in her pentathlon debut.

Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational (Jan. 19-20) - University of New Mexico junior Jarrin Solomon blazed to a career best time of 47.34 and knocked off two nationally ranked runners en route to a sixth place finish in the men's 400 meters. Solomon surpassed his previous best in the event by an eye-popping 1.28 seconds and came within 0.31 seconds of his dad Michael Solomon's 19-year-old school record.

The Albuquerque La Cueva product finished second in his heat, but clocked a faster time than ninth-ranked Melville Rogers of LSU (7th, 47.37) and No. 12 J.T. Scheuerman of Baylor (8th, 47.39), who both ran in heat eight. Two-time Baylor All-American Reggie Witherspoon won the event with a time of 47.21, running in the ninth and final heat.

Elsewhere for the Lobos, junior Jeremy Johnson continued his stellar weekend. Less than 24 hours after knocking off two UTEP All-Americans during a second place finish in the 3,000 meters (personal record time of 8:09.94*), Johnson came back to win the 5,000-meter run with another personal record time of 14:26.94.

On the women's side, junior Ariel Burr turned a strong performance of her own in the 400 meters. The 5-4 Burr clocked a time of 55.55 in a come-from-behind victory in heat four, which was good for a fourth place finish overall in the field of 16.

New Mexico also received solid points on Saturday from junior Melanie Velarde, who won the women's 5,000 with a time of 19:09.70*, and sophomore Josh Cosio, who tied for fifth in the high jump with a leap of 6' 7".

The UNM women finished third out of six in the team standings with a two-day score of 88 points. The Lobo men, meanwhile, were fourth out of eight with a score of 84.5. No. 3 LSU won the women's title (174), while 13th-ranked Texas A&M came away with the men's crown.