Lobos Welcome Seven Teams For Modrall Sperling Don Kirby Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/28/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 28, 2004

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The University of New Mexico will welcome seven teams, including Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming, to Great Friends Of UNM Track Stadium this Saturday, May 1, when it hosts the 14th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, sponsored by the Modrall Sperling law firm. Regional squads from Adams State, Din? College, Fort Lewis and Northern Colorado will also be in attendance. The action gets underway with the field events at 9:30 a.m. (MDT), followed by the running events at 10:30. Admission is free.

Since taking over the program in 2001, UNM head coach Matt Henry has made the Don Kirby Invitational a showcase of the best collegiate track and field talent in the state of New Mexico. This year, over 75 percent (66 total) of Henry's Lobos hail from the Land of Enchantment, including 30 athletes from Albuquerque. UNM has also turned in some of its top performances on its home red track. Last spring, 20 of the team's 39 (51%) top outdoor results were recorded at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium.

Unfortunately, the 2003 Don Kirby Invite was limited to heptathlon and decathlon competition after a winter storm in Colorado forced most of the competing teams to cancel their travel plans on Saturday. New Mexico returned home later in the spring, however, to host the MWC Championships for the first time.

Mother nature appears willing to be more cooperative this time around as Saturday's weather should be ideal for a track meet. The forecast (as of April 27) calls for mostly sunny skies with a high of 75 degrees and the often fierce Albuquerque spring winds at just 10 miles per hour.


"We really want to perform great at home in front of our fans, friends and family. This is going to be a very nice meet and with Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming coming in here, it's a bit of a preview of the upcoming (Mountain West) conference meet."
UNM head coach Matt Henry



Located 5,085 feet above sea level, the Great Friends of University of New Mexico Track Stadium has been the home of the Lobo track and field program since 1985. The stadium is a multifunction, 5,000-seat facility that was renovated in the summer of 1996 to include a soccer field. The track is constructed of an all-weather, encapsulated surface called Versaturf, which is the same surface used for the 1992 Olympic Trials in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Since taking control of the track and field program in 2001, Matt and Mark Henry have injected new life into the stadium. Local fans and alumni alike have returned to the track to catch the Henry's promising, homegrown teams in action. Each year, the Lobos welcome some of the region's top teams for the annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational. New Mexico has hosted the 2003 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships and the 1996 Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships. The venue has also been the longtime home of the elite Great Southwest Track & Field Classic, one of the nation's premier postseason high school invitationals.

The 400-meter track is composed of eight racing lanes and includes a steeplechase water-jump. To bolster performances, sprints can be run in either direction to negate the effects of unfavorable weather. The two long jump/triple jump runways, two pole vault runways and a high jump apron are also of Versaturf construction. They are located behind the goals of the soccer field, allowing competitors to compete in an east or west direction. The improvements to the facility also include the installation of lights, giving UNM the opportunity to host night meets. With future renovations to include a new track surface and track and field scoreboard, the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium will soon be among the finest venues in the West.

The opportunity to train and compete year-round in Albuquerque, gives Lobo athletes an extra advantage. With its mile-high elevation, more than 300 days of sunshine a year and legendary reputation, Albuquerque is a favorite training location for some of the world's top track and field athletes. The world class training environment and facilities at UNM provide an opportunity for exceptional running and field event performances.

DIRECTIONS: The Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium is located east of University Stadium near the corner of Avenida C?sar Chavez and University Blvd. on the University of New Mexico's South Campus.

STADIUM CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Due to ongoing construction on the northeast corner of University Stadium, the main entrance to Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium will be closed. Fans and athletes should use the south gate to enter the track stadium.


UNM junior All-American Matt Gonzales will travel with assistant distance coach Art Acevedo to Stanford, Calif. on Friday to compete in the 10,000-meter run at the Cardinal Invitational. Gonzales will add to an elite field which will include some of the top collegiate and professional distance runners in the world. The Santa Fe native had originally planned to focus on the 5,000 meters this spring, but UNM head coach Matt Henry said he and Gonzales decided to keep their NCAA meet options open by competing for a 10K berth as well. The duo will be shooting for a time of 28:59, just under the automatic qualifying standard for the national meet.

Matt Gonzales will join a field at Stanford that includes seven of the top-10 ranked American 10,000-meter runners.

Gonzales earned All-America honors in the 10,000 with his third place finish at last year's NCAA Championships. He has already qualified for the 2004 NCAA Midwest Regional meet in the 5,000, where he must finish in the top-5 to advance on the nationals.

In just eight years, the Cardinal Invitational has developed into one of the premier track and field meets of the outdoor season. Hundreds of elite college and international athletes compete under the lights before a sold out Cobb Track and Angell Field stadium. In 2001, Meb Keflezighi set the American record in the men's 10,000 meters with a time of 27:13.98 and winner Abraham Chebii of Kenya ran the fastest 10,000 meters ever on American soil at 27:04.20. In 2002, Deena Drossin set an American record in the women's 10,000 meters with a time of 30:50.32. The 2004 Cardinal Invitational will be a major qualifying meet for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the middle distance and distance events. Expect many of these events to be run at the Olympic 'A' qualifying standard.


Complete information and results from the Modrall Sperling Don Kirby Invitational will be available on the official website of the University of New Mexico athletic department:


Complete information and results from Cardinal Invitational will be available on the official website of the Stanford University athletic department:

Stanford University Track & Field Website

LAST TIME OUT (Triton Invitational - La Jolla, Calif.)

New Mexico turned in its best weekend performance of the season at UC San Diego's Triton Invitational (April 23-24), recording season-best marks in 15 men's and women's events. Junior Jamie Fishencord improved her school record and NCAA regional qualifying mark in the hammer with a throw of 179-02 to lead the women's side. Senior Chris Garofola, meanwhile, paced the men with a pair of personal bests in the 100 (10.75) and 200 (21.35), and also helped both Lobo relay teams record their top times of the spring in second place finishes.


(on the Lobos' performance last weekend in San Diego): "I think a lot of people did some nice things for us. I'm especially happy with our men's and women's relay teams. I thought they ran very well on Saturday. Of course, I'm never completely satisfied with where we're at, but at this point of the season I think we're doing pretty good."

(on hosting the team's only home meet of the 2004 season): "We really want to perform great at home in front of our fans, friends and family. This is going to be a very nice meet and with Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming coming in here, it's a bit of a preview of the upcoming (Mountain West) conference meet. Those teams are all very talented and it's always nice to compete against them. We're hoping we can put on a good show and have some really solid performances on Saturday."


Under the direction of fourth year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the 2004 Lobos have continued to improve their outdoor performances. Through four meet this season, the Lobos have eclipsed the top marks of a year ago in 20 events. Eleven of the top marks are also the best in Henry's tenure at New Mexico. The following is a breakdown of the improvement the men and women have made this spring on their top event marks of the 2003 outdoor season:

Women (11 events)

200m: (24.94 ~ 24.53, -0.41 sec.), 400m: (56.68 ~ 56.01, -0.67 sec.), 800m: (2:22.11 ~ 2:15.99, -6.12 sec.), 1,500m: (4:42.62 ~ 4:36.68, -5.94 sec.), *5,000m: (17:51.63 ~ 17:13.59, -38.04 sec.), 3,000m Steeplechase: (no competitors ~ 12:14.86), 400m Hurdles: (1:05.54 ~ 1:04.28, -1.26 sec.), *Shot Put: (48-06.25 ~ 48-10.75, +3 ft., 0.5 in.), *Discus: (137-04 ~ 146-04, +9 ft.), *Hammer: (157-03 ~ 179-02, +21 ft., 11 in.), *Javelin: (141-01 ~ 143-10, +2 ft., 9 in.)

Men (9 events)

*110m Hurdles: (14.74 ~ 14.65, -0.09 sec.), *5,000m: (13:48.35 ~ 13:44.52, -3.83 sec.), 3,000m Steeplechase: (no competitors ~ 9:56.03), Long Jump: (22-06.25 ~ 22-10.50, +4.25 in.), Triple Jump: (45-08.00 ~ 47-06.50, +1 ft., 10.50 in.), *Shot Put: (55-04.25 ~ 56-09.50, +1 ft., 5.25 in.), *Discus: (169-06 ~ 173-02, +3 ft., 8 in.), *Hammer: (156-02 ~ 169-07, +13 ft., 5 in.), *Decathlon: (6,525 pts. ~ 7,141 pts., +616 pts.)

* indicates top time/result under fourth year head coach Matt Henry