April 13, 2006
WALNUT, Calif. - University of New Mexico sophomore Ariel Burr smashed her own school record in the 400-meter dash by a stunning 0.63 seconds, winning the Olympic Development section of the event with a time of 53.48 this afternoon at the elite Mt. SAC Relays. Burr defeated Arizona senior Marquita Taylor by 0.46 seconds and clocked the fastest time in the Mountain West Conference this season in just her second individual 400 race of the spring.
Burr also secured her place at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet for the second straight season, running over a second under the regional qualifying standard. The former Carrizozo (N.M.) High School standout set the previous UNM record with a time of 54.11 en route to a third place finish at the 2005 MWC Championship meet.
New Mexico picked up its second victory of the meet in the men's 5,000-meter run as junior Jeremy Johnson crossed the line with a time of 14:35.85, nearly ten seconds ahead of the nearest finisher in the 22-man field. Johnson, who was running the 5,000 for the first time this season, won for the second straight week after taking the 3,000 at USC on April 1.
Sophomore Jarrin Solomon also had a strong performance in the men's Olympic Development 400-meter dash, placing second overall and first among collegiate competitors with a time of 47.19. Solomon defeated former Big East champion Ryan Postel of Notre Dame by 0.08 seconds in heat two, but Rashaad Johnson, running for the Perpetual Motion track club, won the event with a time of 47.02 in heat one.
Earlier in the day at nearby Azusa Pacific University, UNM freshman Sandy Fortner placed 11th out of 17 in the women's heptathlon, improving her NCAA provisional qualifying rankings with a score of 5,088. Fortner notched top-10 finishes in the high jump (T3rd, 5' 6"), 200m dash (6th, 25.25) and javelin throw (10th, 113') over the two-day competition.
The Lobos' long distance runners took the stage during the evening, beginning with senior Jacquelyne Gallegos who finished 17th in a field of 32 in the women's Olympic Development 5,000-meter run. Gallegos clocked a strong time of 17:12.30 in her first 5K of the spring, 11 seconds off her personal record.
Later in the women's 10,000, sophomore Lindsay Barr shaved 27 seconds off her career best, crossing the line in 37:30.16 (15th). New Mexico junior Juan Ortega and sophomore Joseph Garcia held their own in the men's 10K as well. Ortega, who was running the event for the first time in his career, finished 14th in the 26-man field with a time of 30:55.32, while Garcia turned in a personal record time of 31:28.17 (21st) in his second career 10K.
Complete results from the 48th Mt. SAC Relays are available at www.mtsacrelays.com