Nov. 13, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS -- University of New Mexico senior Timmie Murphy can be sure now. She'll be in Terre Haute, Ind. for the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 20. Murphy was the top individual qualifier out of the Mountain Region when the NCAA Selection Committee announced the field the national meet on Sunday afternoon. Junior teammate Leslie Luna, however, narrowly missed the cut after finishing six seconds behind the fourth and final individual qualifier out of the region on Saturday, Northern Arizona senior Katja Rosenplaenter.
Despite a convincing fifth place finish in Saturday's Mountain Regional meet in Albuquerque, Murphy refused to assume her first trip to the NCAA Championships was guaranteed after the race. With the announcement on Sunday, she becomes the second UNM woman in the past nine years to advance to the national championship meet, joining former teammate Jacquelyne Gallegos (2001 and '04). Murphy is the seventh woman in program history to qualify for NCAA Championships as an individual.
Senior Juan Ortega also came up short in his run for an automatic bid to the national meet. Ortega earned all-Mountain Region honors for the first time in his career with a 20th place finish on Saturday, but was over a minute behind the fourth and final qualifier, Jess Baumgartner of Southern Utah (7th).
Murphy will make her NCAA debut on Monday, Nov. 20 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. The women's 6,000-meter race is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (MST).