UNM Women Notch Highest Conference Score In 18 Years
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/17/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 17, 2008

Post-Meet Interviews

FORT WORTH, Texas - The University of New Mexico earned in six more all-conference medals, including victories by senior Tiyana Peters (high jump) and Lee Emanuel (1,500 meters), on the fourth and final day of the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships today at TCU's Lowdon Track and Field Complex. The New Mexico women finished fifth with 78 points - their highest since scoring 141 at the 1990 High Country Athletic Conference Championships - while the men's team was also fifth with 87 points - their best score since 2005.

Senior pole vaulter Robert Caldwell and junior javelin thrower Katie Coronado helped UNM become just the second school to sweep the men's and women's MWC Outstanding Performer awards. Caldwell won the pole vault with a championship record clearance of 18' 1" on Friday, following Coronado's victory in the javelin with a mark of 176' 1". They were the first Lobos to earn the awards at the Mountain West Championships.

The BYU men survived TCU's late charge on its home track to win its ninth consecutive MWC Outdoor Championship, 210-192. The 18-point margin of victory was the smallest in the history of the MWC men's meet. Colorado State, meanwhile, snapped the BYU women's four-year winning streak and handed the Cougars their worst defeat in MWC history, 187-141.

Following a sensational Friday, New Mexico picked up where it left off this morning as Peters opened the meet by winning the high jump. The Flanders, N.J. product cleared 5' 8 3/4" (1.75m), knocking off top-seeded Niomi Ridge of CSU (2nd - 5' 7") to become the first woman in MWC and UNM history to win back-to-back outdoor high jump titles.

Peters completed the indoor/outdoor MWC high jump sweep for the second straight year, giving her four conference gold medals in her career. Only former triple jumper Monique Harris (5 - 2000-02) has more MWC victories as a Lobo.

UNM kept rolling on the track as top-ranked Emanuel took the lead on the final lap and surged to a relatively comfortable victory in the 1,500 with a time of 3:47.63. TCU sophomore Festus Kigen was second with a time of 3:48.28.

The product of Hastings, England became the first Lobo to win a conference title in the event since Greg Keith captured the Western Athletic Conference crown in 1986. Emanuel also snapped BYU's five-year winning streak in the event and became the first runner from a school other than BYU or Colorado State to win the 1,500 at the Mountain West Championships.

New Mexico just missed on two more victories on Saturday as junior Anthony Fairbanks (Albuquerque Highland) finished second in the javelin and senior Kara Henry (Elmhurst, Ill.) earned the silver medal in the 5,000.

After disappointing sixth place finishes the past two years, Fairbanks erupted with a throw of 220' 11" (67.34m) to lead the event late in the final round. TCU senior Joe Brown, however, turned in his best throw in over two years with a mark of 221' 7" (67.55m) to win gold in his final home meet. Brown's mark was the second-best in MWC Championship history, while Fairbanks' throw was No. 3 on the meet performance list.

With his first career all-conference medal, Fairbanks gave the Lobos an all-MWC performer in the men's javelin for the eighth time in the nine-year history of the MWC. Five different New Mexico throwers have combined for seven medals in the event since 2000.

Henry, meanwhile, finished five spots above her seed and just six seconds out of first place with a time of 17:37.54 in the 5,000. The transfer from Butler was neck-and-neck with Colorado State junior and former Los Alamos High School standout Kristen Hemphill with 200 meters to go before Hemphill gradually pulled away. Henry's performance, however, was the best by a Lobo since 2005 and extended New Mexico's streak to four consecutive years with an all-conference honoree in the event.

Seniors Ariel Burr (Carrizozo, N.M.) and Jeremy Johnson (Albuquerque Manzano) also earned all-MWC honors with bronze medal performances in their final outdoor conference meet.

Burr clocked a season-best time of 53.98 to finish third in the 400, earning a spot on the all-MWC team for the fourth consecutive year. Johnson earned all-conference honors for the second straight season in the 5,000 with a third place finish (14:40.38).

Other New Mexico highlights from Saturday included:

Men's 100m
Junior Jermaine McQueen (Raleigh, N.C.) moved up three spots on his preliminary finish to place fourth in just his second collegiate 100-meter race. McQueen, a senior-to-be wide receiver on the football team clocked a season-best time of 10.66 as he notched the best finish by a Lobo in the event since 2003.

Men's 800m
Redshirt freshman Ryan Steadman (Albuqueque St. Pius X) lowered his career-best for the second straight day, clocking a time of 1:50.80 to finish fourth in the 800. Steadman was just four-tenths of a second shy of an NCAA regional qualifying time in his first MWC Outdoor Championship meet. Sophomore teammate Brian Vallie, meanwhile, was eighth with a time of 1:53.04.

Women's Triple Jump
Sophomore Deanna Young (Albuquerque Highland) improved two spots on her finish at the 2007 MWC Championships with a fourth place finish. Young's mark of 41' 5" (12.62m) was just an inch shy of all-MWC recognition.

Women's Pole Vault
In her first MWC Outdoor Championship meet appearance since 2006, junior Whitney Johnson (San Diego) finished fifth - six spots above her seed - with a season-best mark of 12' 4 1/2" (3.77m). Johnson just missed advancing to the NCAA regional meet for the first time since undergoing major knee surgery in the summer of '06.

Women's 400m Hurdles
Sophomore Kim Perkins (Clovis, N.M.) moved up two spots from her finish in the prelims to place seventh with a time of 1:01.73. Perkins became the first Lobo to score in the event since 2001.

Women's 4x100m Relay
The team of junior Sandy Fortner, sophomore Alesha Walker, Burr and senior Kristan Matison finished fifth with a time of 45.94. It was the Lobos fastest 4x100 time at the MWC Championships since 2000.

Men's 4x100m Relay
The team of freshman Chris Keeling, Reid, senior Kurt Henry and McQueen clocked a season-best time of 41.47 to finish fourth - their best in two years.

Men's 400m
Sophomore Philip Reid (Westampton, N.J.) scored for the first time at the MWC Outdoor Championships, placing sixth in the 400 with a time of 48.70.

Men's 1,500m
Junior Mat Ashton (Oxford, England) clocked a time of 3:51.17 to finish seventh in his first collegiate 1,500 race. New Mexico's British duo of Emanuel and Ashton combined for 12 points in the event.

Men's Triple Jump
Junior Josh Cosio (Albuquerque Manzano) finished seventh in his MWC triple jump debut with a mark of 43' 1" (13.13m). After finishing second in the high jump on Friday, Cosio tied gold medalists Lee Emanuel and Robert Caldwell for team high point honors.

MWC Men's Outstanding Performer Award

New Mexico Sr. Robert Caldwell - Pole Vault (18' 1")

MWC Women's Outstanding Performer Award

New Mexico Jr. Katie Coronado - Javelin (176' 1")

New Mexico All-MWC Team Medal Count

Men - 5
Gold - 2 (Caldwell, Emanuel)
Silver - 2 (Cosio, Fairbanks)
Bronze - 1 (Johnson)

Women - 6
Gold - 3 (Fortner, Coronado, Peters)
Silver - 2 (Walker, Henry)
Bronze - 1 (Burr)

-Five gold medals at the 2008 MWC Outdoor Championships are the most for the UNM men and women since 1990 (10 at the WAC/HCAC Championships)

-Six total all-MWC medals for the women are the most since 2005

New Mexico Men's High Point Award
Sr. Robert Caldwell/Jr. Josh Cosio/Jr. Lee Emanuel - 10 points

New Mexico Women's High Point Award
Jr. Sandy Fortner - 15 points

2008 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships Final Standings

WOMEN 1. Colorado State - 187
2. BYU - 141
3. San Diego State - 126
4. TCU - 122
5. New Mexico - 78
6. Utah - 58
7. Wyoming - 46
8. UNLV - 35
9. Air Force - 26

1. BYU - 210
2. TCU - 192
3. Air Force - 135
4. Colorado State - 126
5. New Mexico - 87
6. Wyoming - 53