March 1, 2008
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Junior Tiyana Peters captured her third consecutive high jump title and teammate Sandy Fortner added another medal in the event as the University of New Mexico put the final touches on a memorable Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships performance today at the Cadet Field House. The Lobos also received bronze medal results from junior Lee Emanuel in the men's mile, junior Domnick Meadows in the men's triple jump and sophomore Deanna Young, who stunned the field with a school record and NCAA provisional qualifying leap, in the women's triple jump.
As expected, a lack of depth this indoor season hampered the New Mexico men (6th - 44.5 points) and women (6th - 51.5 points) in the overall team standings. The individuals who did compete, however, were outstanding, combining for two conference titles, eight all-MWC medals (4 - men, 4 - women) and three school records over the three days of competition.
Peters cleared 5' 7" (1.70m), defeating BYU senior Sarah Lacey with fewer attempts, to become the Lobos' first three-time conference champion in the high jump. The Flanders, N.J. product joined Monique Harris (triple jump, 2001-02) and Keren Sari-Bentzur (pentathlon/long jump, 2003) as the only UNM women to win multiple conference titles indoors. She also earned all-MWC honors in the event for the third straight year indoors and fourth time in her career.
Fortner, meanwhile, cleared 5' 5" (1.65m) to tie multi-event rival Emily Pearson of Colorado State for third place. Fortner, who cleared a conference-best 5' 8 1/2" in the pentathlon high jump on Thursday, medaled in the event for the first time in career in her ninth event competition of the weekend.
The Fort Sumner, N.M. product opened her day on the track with a fourth place finish in the women's 60-meter hurdles finals, clocking a career-best altitude adjusted time of 8.65. Her finish was the best by a Lobo since Angela Whyte in 2000 as she became the first UNM woman to score in the event since 2001.
Fortner piled up a team-high 21.5 points - nine behind High Point Award winner Karoline Koehler of San Diego State - in the pentathlon (first), high jump (tied for third), hurdles (fourth) and long jump (eighth).
Young jump-started the Lobos' in the first event of the day with one of the most remarkable conference meet triple jump performances in school history. The Albuquerque Highland product broke former All-American Lavern Clarke's 18-year-old school record by four inches and was over 2 1/2 feet beyond her previous best as she finished third with a mark of 42' 7" (12.98m). Young was more than a foot better than the NCAA provisional qualifying standard to move into the national top-20 rankings and put herself on the bubble for an NCAA Championship bid.
Young, who entered the meet as the No. 6 seed, improved four spots on her 2007 effort en route to the best finish by a Lobo in the event since 2003. Her performance helped the Lobos overcome the loss of two-time indoor finalist Hagit Salamon, who suffered a hamstring injury during the long jump on Friday.
Later in the men's triple jump, junior Domnick Meadows continued his stellar meet performance by finishing third to become the first Lobo ever to medal in the event indoors or outdoors. Meadows, who was fourth in the long jump on Friday, recorded a lifetime best mark of 48' 10 3/4" (14.90m) - almost a foot beyond his previous record. The Albuquerque Del Norte product led the UNM men with 11 points during the meet.
Emanuel paced the Lobos on the track on Saturday, using a late surge to take third in the mile with an altitude adjusted time of 4:14.62 - 1.04 seconds behind the winner, BYU junior Kyle Perry. After helping the distance medley relay team finish second on Friday night, Emanuel joined former All-American Matt Gonzales (second in 2004) as the Lobos' lone all-MWC honorees in the event.
Sophomore Nick Argüelles, meanwhile, scored for the first time indoors by placing seventh with an altitude adjusted time of 4:18.68.
The Lobo field event competitors continued to be the story of the meet, however.
Junior Briana Paxton turned in the best UNM finish in three years in the women's shot put, placing fourth with a career-best mark of 46' 3 1/4" (14.10m). Paxton smashed her previous PR in the event by 15 inches to finish three spots above her seed.
Later, senior Robert Caldwell and freshman Kyle Walker finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the men's pole vault. Caldwell cleared 17' 3/4" (5.20m) while Walker jumped 15' 1" (4.60m) in his MWC debut.
The New Mexico men also received points from sophomore Brian Vallie in the 800 and the mile relay team of redshirt freshman Ryan Steadman, freshman Chris Keeling, Vallie and sophomore Philip Reid. Valllie scored for the second straight year with a seventh place finish (altitude adjusted 1:54.25) in the 800, then came to help the relay team finish sixth in their first race of the winter (3:22.10).