Jan. 30, 2005
LUBBOCK, Texas - Derek Mackel continued his breakthrough season on Saturday, earning his first career indoor victory at Texas Tech's Wes Kittley Classic with a career-high and NCAA provisional qualifying height of 17-01.00 in the pole vault. Mackel, a junior in eligibility indoors, became the first Lobo to record a national qualifying mark this winter. Senior Amanda Barnes paced the women with a victory in the weight throw and runner-up finish in the shot put.
After clearing an unofficial career-best of 17-00.75 on Jan. 15 in the Lobos' exhibition indoor meet in Albuquerque, Mackel soared nearly a full foot higher than his top mark of 2004. The Sandia High School product also became the second Lobo in head coach Matt Henry's five-year tenure to surpass 17 feet in the pole vault, joining current volunteer coach Branden Bennett who cleared 17-04.50 in 2003.
Barnes, meanwhile, earned her third career indoor victory and reclaimed the school record from teammate Jamie Fishencord with a toss of 54-01.00. Barnes defeated the runner-up, Texas Tech's Olivia Clardy, by two feet while Fishencord finished fourth with a solid early-season mark of 50-08.75. Barnes capped her day with a 47-08.00 mark in the shot put to finish second.
New Mexico was also well represented in the women's pole vault as freshman Whitney Johnson battled Texas Tech's nationally-ranked vaulter Kelley Schulz to a first place tie. Johnson improved nearly three inches from the week before, matching Schulz with a height of 12-06.00.
In other field event action, senior Willie Yuen turned in his best long jump performance since 2002, tying teammate Derek McDonald for fifth place with a mark of 22-10.50. McDonald, who won the heptathlon last week at Air Force, also finished fourth in the high jump with a clearance of 6-05.50.
On the track, New Mexico dominated the men's mile run as Nick Martinez (4:20.05), Nate Clem (4:20.11), Mike Smiel (4:20.63) and Juan Ortega (4:21.20) finished 2-3-4-5. Clem (career-best 1:56.18), Smiel (1:58.55) and Martinez (1:59.29) came back to finish 4-5-6 in the 800, while Ortega placed third in the 3,000 with a time of 8:54.98.
Sophomore Brandie Mills led the UNM women on the track, picking up her first career victory in the 600-yard run. New Mexico's young sprint group was also impressive as freshman Kristan Matison finished third in the 55-meter dash with an altitude adjusted time of 7.29, while fellow rookie Ariel Burr was seventh in the 400, crossing the line in 57.63. Junior Kimilia Davis, meanwhile, was sixth in the 200 with a strong time of 25.23. Davis, Burr, senior Jaime Hall and freshman Shakira Williams later came back to finish third in the mile relay, clocking a fine early season time of 3:56.34.
On the men's side, senior Ahmed Raji made his first appearance in two years after redshirting the 2004 indoor and outdoor seasons. Raji clocked the sixth-fastest preliminary time in the 55 meters (6.54), but finished 11th in the finals. He later came back to place seventh in the 200 with a time of 22.10. Sophomore Jeramie White led the Lobos in the event with a seventh place finish (6.53). Freshman Jarrin Solomon continued to impress in the 400, placing sixth with a time of 49.44. Sophomore teammate Randle McCain, meanwhile, was 0.22 seconds behind in eighth place (49.66).