June 6, 2011
Lobo Track & Field - At the NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 8-11 -- Des Moines, Iowa -- Drake University
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
When it comes to strutting your Lobo stuff in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the rest of the Lobos might be looking to take their cue from Deanna Young.
Lobo coach Joe Franklin is marching into the NCAA national finals in Des Moines, Iowa, with ten talented Lobos, but only one Lobo has been on that high stage before - Young.
Young can't exactly be called the "old lady" of this group. The Highland High product is only a senior in college. But she is definitely the veteran as the only Lobo returning for an encore performance at the NCAA finals.
Of course, Young is hoping her encore shows some improvement from her 14th place (41-10.50) in 2010. But she would be happy with another encore as an NCAA All-American. Young and Lee Emanuel (1,500) turned that trick in last's year's final NCAA meet in Eugene, Ore.
"Your goal at nationals is always to make the finals and give you chance to be No. 1 in your event," said Lobo Coach Joe Franklin. "It's a special thing to run in a national championship. The field has been cut to the top 24 in the nation and that's out of thousands and thousands of athletes.
"Now, you have a chance to win and a chance to be an NCAA All-American." The Lobos advanced nine competitors out of the NCAA West Qualifying Round held two weeks ago in Eugene. Those nine Lobos join UNM's Richard Young, a decathlete who automatically advanced to the NCAA finals.
Franklin says the meet in Eugene is a great way to prepare an athlete for the national finals.
"Eugene is a special kind of beast," said Franklin. "There were 8,000, maybe 9,000 fans there the last day. The stands were full and that stage prepares you anything. The environment at Eugene is one of the more electric environments in track and field."
Young and York are joined by Ross Millington (5,000 meters), Nicholas Kipruto (5,000), Rory Fraser (5,000), David Bishop (1,500), Alesha Walker (long jump), Ruth Senior (10,000), Keith Gerrard (10,000) and Django Lovett (triple, high jump).
At the NCAA qualifying meet, Millington had UNM's best time at 10,000 meters at 13:36.39. Bishop has established himself as a threat at 1,500 meters with his 3:44.69 clocking (third place).
Senior had a solid time of 33:33.23 at 10,000 meters. That time is more than nine seconds faster than her previous season-best in the event.
Franklin said his Lobos went to the qualifying meet in Eugene looking for personal bests. They'll do the same thing in Des Moines.
"Things worked out well (at Eugene)," said Franklin. "Most everyone did about what we expected and we had a lot of improvement. You hope to see that again at nationals.
"In a lot of ways, there is less pressure at nationals than there is at a qualifying round. You want to get to nationals. Now, you are there, so that sometimes makes an athlete loose and relaxed.
"We try not to put pressure on them. You want them to reach the finals and maybe score some points. It's also go out and compete and have a lot of fun."
Based on NCAA rankings, the top team threats on the men's side at the national meet are Texas A&M (1), Florida (2), Florida State (3), LSU (4) and Texas Tech (5). New Mexico is ranked No. 18.
On the women's side, the top teams are Oregon (1), Texas A&M (2), LSU (3), Arkansas (4) and Oklahoma (5). The Lobo women are not in the Top 25.