Henry Signs Five For 2004-05 Track & Field/Cross Country Seasons
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/18/2003
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 18, 2003

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico head track & field/cross country coach Matt Henry announced today that he has finalized his list of fall signees for the 2004-05 seasons, inking five athletes to national letters of intent to compete for the Lobos next year. The list includes four women: Albuquerque-area products Leslie Luna (Albuquerque Academy), Stasia Ploskonka (Manzano HS), Melanie Velarde (Eldorado HS) and Tiyana Peters (Mount Olive HS) of Mount Olive, N.J., along with Albuquerque La Cueva standout Shadrack Kiptoo, the lone men's signee.

" We've really added some outstanding athletes with this group," said Henry. "Of course I'm very proud that four Albuquerque kids have decided to stay and compete for the University of New Mexico, and we're also very happy to welcome Tiyana Peters to New Mexico. All of these kids will have an opportunity to step in and contribute right away for us, and that's exciting. We're really looking forward to seeing what they can do next year."

Shadrack Kiptoo * 5-10 * distance/cross country * La Cueva HS (Eldoret, Kenya)

2003 New Mexico 5A cross country champion in his first season of competition at Albuquerque La Cueva, under head coach Eddy Hellebuyck...enrolled at LCHS in the fall of 2002...finished the course in nearly a minute and a half faster than his nearest competitor...clocked a city meet course record of 15:21 and won the boys JV race at the Lobo Invitational with a 3-mile time of 14:42 at the UNM North Golf Course...could be one of the top prep distance runners in the United States...clocked career-best time of 3:41, three seconds off the U.S. high school record held by current Michigan runner Alan Webb, and recorded a time of 13:57 in the 5,000 in the spring of 2002 at the age of 17...also won the Kenyan national high school 1,500-meter title...previously attended Kapenguria high school in Kenya...full name is Shadrack Biwott Kiptoo...born on Feb. 19, 1985...age is 18...parents John and Magrate both still reside in Kenya...currently lives with his uncle Simon Sawe, a professional runner, in Albuquerque...older brother, Luke Metto, competes professionally for the Asics France track club...first language is Swahili.

Leslie Luna * 5-6 * distance/cross country * Albuquerque Academy (Albuquerque, N.M.)

2002 Albuquerque Tribune Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year, at Albuquerque Academy, under head coach Sheryl Clemmer...won four meets as a junior, including city cross country championship in a course record time of 18:53...was slowed by a variety of injuries and illnesses following the city meet, but placed 10th at the 4A state cross country meet and was sixth in the 1,600 at the state track meet...rallied to take home a silver medal in the 3,000 meters with a time of 10:38.5 at the 2003 National Junior Olympics...also finished 6th in the 1,500 with a time of 4:51...was third in the 3,000 as a sophomore the year before...also a letterwinner on the Chargers' varsity basketball team.

Tiyana Peters * 5-10 * high jump/hurdles/heptathlon * Mount Olive HS (Mount Olive, N.J.)

Two-time Northern Hills Conference high jump champion at West Orange (N.J.) High School before moving with her family to Mount Olive, N.J. where she will compete this spring for Mount Olive High School, under head coach Dave Sulley...three-time winner at the Essex County Championships and placed fourth at the Meet of Champions as a sophomore...set a personal-best of 5-08 in the high jump as a sophomore...led her team to a county championship by winning the HJ and placing third in both the long jump and 100m hurdles.

Stasia Ploskonka * 5-6 * distance/cross country * Manzano HS (Cedar Crest, N.M.)

All-city, all-district and all-state honoree in both cross country and track for Albuquerque Manzano High School, under head coach Jeremy Vehar...runner-up at the 2003 city cross country meet...placed third at the New Mexico Junior Olympic cross country meet...silver medalist in the 3,200-meter run at the state track meet as a junior...a versatile athlete who also finished eighth in the heptathlon at the 2003 Great Southwest Track & Field Meet...also a member of the Monarch's varsity basketball team.

Melanie Velarde * 5-2 * distance/cross country * Eldorado HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Reigning state 5A 3,200-meter champion at Albuquerque Eldorado High School...also captured the district title in the event...has been slowed by a cuboid stress fracture in her left foot this fall...placed 13th at the 2003 New Mexico Junior Olympic cross country meet...outstanding student with a g.p.a over 4.0.