April 3, 2005
EL PASO, Texas - It was a good day in the Sun City for the University of New Mexico's throwers and jumpers as four Lobos added their names to the NCAA Midwest Regional qualifying list on Saturday at the UTEP Springtime Invitational meet. Despite competing without many of its top distance runners, New Mexico won two events on the men's side to finish third, while senior Amanda Barnes won her third straight shot put competition to lead to a fourth place finish.
Barnes remained undefeated on the year, dominating the competition once again with a mark of 51-02.25. It was the third throw of 50 feet or more in her career, two of which have come this season. Senior teammate Jamie Fishencord earned a regional qualifying mark in the hammer throw for the second straight year, finishing fourth with a toss of 183-09. Fellow senior Veronica R. Gonzales secured her third straight trip to the Midwest Regional Championships, qualifying with a mark of 148-02 en route to a second place finish in the javelin.
On the men's side, senior Alfred Neale brushed off three years of rust in the high jump, sailing 6-10.75 to qualify for the regional meet in his Lobo track and field debut. A high-flying forward on the UNM basketball team, Neale finished third in a top-notch field. Kansas State's Kyle Lancaster won the event with a stadium record-tying leap of 7-07.00, while Texas Tech's Chad Pharis was second with a mark of 7-00.50.
In the pole vault, senior Derek Mackel shattered his personal record by seven full inches, winning the event with a mark of 17-00.75. Mackel, who just missed qualifying for nationals during the indoor season, surpassed the outdoor regional qualifying mark for the second straight year. The victory was his first outdoors since taking the pole vault at the 2003 Springtime Invitational.
Sophomore Juan Ortega paced the Lobos on the track, picking up his first career victory with an unadjusted time of 15:31.08 in the 5,000 meters.
Other top performers from the Saturday's meet included: freshman Whitney Johnson (pole vault - T3rd, 11-11.75), freshman Tiyana Peters (high jump - 4th, 5-07.00), senior Jordan Parker (discus - 3rd, 162-03, shot put - 4th, 52-04.75), junior Dan Feltman (javelin - 2nd, 193-01).
New Mexico returns to action next week when a select group travel to Austin for the elite Texas Relays.