Jan. 9, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - After a year hiatus, the indoor track is back at the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque. This winter the University of New Mexico will host four Saturday meets (Jan. 17 - Feb. 7) at the facility, which earned a reputation as one of the premier indoor track and field venues in America during its first two seasons of competition in 2006 and 2007.
Second-year UNM head coach Joe Franklin and his staff have worked around the clock to put the track together in the 106,000-square foot Fran Hill Exhibit Hall at the Convention Center. Franklin received a big assist from former Lobo pole vaulter Robert Caldwell - a two-time All-American who graduated last spring. Caldwell enlisted the help of workers at his company, Pro Fab, and TLC Plumbing to help with the assembly of the track.
New Mexico opens the 2009 indoor season on Saturday, Jan. 17 with the Lobo Opener. It will be the first of four straight home meets: the Cherry and Silver Invitational (Jan. 24), New Mexico Multis and Invitational (Jan. 30-31), and the New Mexico Classic (Feb. 7).
The Mountain West Conference Championships will return to Albuquerque in 2010.
Each Saturday meet opens with the field events at 9 a.m., followed by the first event on the track at 10 a.m. Admission is $5 at the door.
In its first two seasons, the indoor track at the Convention Center earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best new facilities in America. Twenty-five automatic qualifying and 249 provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Division I Championships were recorded as the Lobos welcomed 31 top-25 men's and women's teams to Albuquerque from 2006-07. Texas' Trey Hardee set the collegiate heptathlon record at the facility in 2006 and the men's and women's facility record lists are dotted with athletes who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Setting it all up has been a labor of love, but our kids are so excited to have this facility back in Albuquerque," Franklin said. "(Former UNM coaches) Matt and Mark Henry, and Scott Steffan did a great job of putting on some amazing meets in prior seasons and we're eager to pick up where they left off in 2007.
You're going to see some very fast times on the track and big marks in the field events here this winter and our athletes are thrilled to be able to compete each week at home in front of their friends and family."