May 27, 2004
UPCOMINGTen University of New Mexico track and field athletes will be competing for their first trip to the NCAA Championships when they take on the best of the Midwest this weekend at the 2004 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in College Station, Texas. The action from the Anderson Track and Field Complex gets underway on Friday at 11 a.m. (MDT) and again on Saturday at 2 p.m. The top five finishers in each event finals will automatically advance to the national championship meet two weeks later in Austin.
The Midwest region is comprised of all the Division I schools from the states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. 2004 marks the second year of the NCAA's new head-to-head qualifying system for outdoor track and field. Athletes must surpass qualifying marks in their respective events, except for the 10,000 meters and heptathlon/decathlon, in order to compete at the regional championship meet. Once at the regional meet, the top five finishers in each event, regardless of the time or mark, earn automatic berths to the national championships.
New Mexico's field athletes will be represented well with nine competitors throwing or vaulting over the weekend. Junior Cameron Clarke, who will compete in the 5,000 on Friday night, is the lone UNM runner traveling to College Station. Fellow 5,000 qualifier Matt Gonzales will compete instead in Stanford, Calif. at the U.S. Open meet on Sunday night. Junior Hank Baskett, the Mountain West Conference high jump champion, will also stay at home in Albuquerque to begin his offseason training program for the upcoming football season. The following is the schedule for the ten Lobos who will be competing at the Midwest Regionals:
11 a.m. - No. 17 Jr. Jamie Fishencord (hammer)
3 p.m. - No. 17 Jr. Bridgid Isworth (pole vault)
5 p.m. - No. 16 Sr. Jason Barkemeyer (shot put)
7:30 p.m. - No. 21 Jr. Cameron Clarke (5,000m)
2 p.m. - No. 7 Jr. Veronica Gonzales, No. 21 So. Kayla Brown (javelin)
5 p.m. - No. 7 Jr. Amanda Barnes (shot put)
5 p.m. - No. 25 Sr. Jason Barkemeyer (discus)
THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUEST BEGINS
The men's 5,000, the first official race of the Payton Jordan U.S. Open, will begin at 10 p.m. (MDT) on Sunday. The rest of the meet will be held on Monday, May 31, and will later be televised on ESPN2 on Tuesday, June 1, from 7-8 p.m. (MDT).
Gonzales has enjoyed some of the finest performances of his career at Stanford, where he has run three previous 10,000 races. He was named MWC Men's Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week last month after his performance in the 10,000 meters at the elite Cardinal Invitational on April 30 in Stanford. Gonzales, the first repeat Athlete of the Week honoree for the UNM men's team, ran the third-fastest collegiate 10K of the year at Stanford, crossing the line with a time of 28:22.77. The All-American improved on his personal-best and MWC record time, which he set in a third place finish at the 2003 NCAA Championship meet, by over four seconds and was 37.23 seconds under the NCAA automatic qualifying time in his first 10,000-meter race of the season. Gonzales also earned a "B" qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the second straight year and was just eight seconds off the automatic "A" standard for the event.
"Honestly, I thought he could've run maybe 15 seconds faster than that," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He said he wasn't feeling that great out there, but to clock a 28:22 when you're not at the top of your game is pretty remarkable."
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSComplete information for the 2004 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships will be available on the official website of the host Texas A&M University athletic department:
Complete information and results from the 2004 Payton Jordan U.S. Open will be available on the following website:
LAST YEAR AT THE MIDWEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (LINCOLN, NEB.)The 2003 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships belonged to unlikely 1,500-meter champion Matt Gonzales. Ranked just 22nd entering the meet, Gonzales clocked the fastest preliminary time, then shocked the field with his stirring victory in the finals. The 5-5 Gonzales surged down the final straightaway and leaned past 6-3 Minnesota junior Martin Robeck to capture the Midwest title with a personal-best time of 3:42.83. His time was the fastest run at the four NCAA regional championship meets and was just 0.29 seconds shy of the 17-year-old UNM record.
"This wasn't his specialty and we were just hoping to make it two rounds into the finals this weekend before nationals," said head coach Matt Henry after the race. "After [Friday's preliminary race] though, when he ran the fastest preliminary time, we thought we had a good chance to finish in the top five. He did a good job of keeping himself in the race and then with about 150 meters to go, just outkicked everybody and got a tremendous victory."
In other UNM action on the final day of competition, Jason Barkemeyer finished 11th in the shot put with a throw of 54-09.25, improving six spots on his pre-meet No. 17 ranking in the event. Jimmy Minner also improved six places on his seed (22nd) in the javelin, finishing 16th with a mark of 188-09. Chris Ashcraft (ranked 24th) closed his season well, placing 14th out of 40 competitors in the men's pole vault with a mark of 15-07.25. Erin Johnson capped her solid season by finishing tied for 19th in the high jump (5-05.25), while the men's mile relay team of David Lloyd, Nick Lott, Chris Garofola and Ahmed Raji was 17th with a time of 3:12.13.
On Friday, the men's 4x100-meter relay team of Garofola, Lloyd, Raji and freshman RaShawn Jackson ran a season-best for the second-straight meet, but just missed the qualifying cut. Ranked 27th entering the meet, the foursome blazed to a time of 40.47, finishing ninth, just 0.14 seconds behind the eighth and final finalist. Sophomore Veronica Gonzales also defied the rankings, finishing 15th (136-01) in the women's javelin, 13 spots higher than her seeding of 28th. Fellow Carlsbad native Amanda Barnes did not fare as well, finishing 13th in the shot put with a toss of 45-11.75. Barnes scratched on her first attempt before recording her top mark on her third and final throw. Back on the track, Lloyd finished 20th in the 100-meter prelims with a time of 10.67, then suffered an unfortunate disqualification in the 400-meter hurdles later in the day when he stepped out of his lane. Meanwhile, Raji placed 14th in the 200-meter prelims with a time of 21.14. Barkermeyer wrapped up the day's competition by placing 32nd in the discus. He recorded his top mark of 158-02 on his first attempt, but then scratched on his final two throws.
Gonzales scored the only points for the Lobos over the weekend, helping the men finish tied for 21st (out of 33 teams) with 10 points. Nebraska capture the women's team title with 103 points, while Minnesota was the men's regional winner with 65.5 points.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING 101In 2003 the NCAA began the use of head-to-head competition for the first to determine the outdoor track and field national championship field. Once again this year, athletes must meet regional qualifying standards during the season to secure a berth in the field of their respective regional championship meets (East, Mideast, Midwest, West). Once at the regional meet, athletes need only to finish in the top-five of their respective events to advance to the national championship meet. However, competitors in the 10,000-meter run, heptathlon and decathlon will continue to use the old system of meeting provisional or automatic qualifying standards to earn a spot in the national championship field. The following is a quick overview of the NCAA Championship qualifying system:
Regional Qualifying: Athletes must meet minimum standards in their respective events, except for the 10,000m and heptathlon/decathlon, during the regular season in order to compete at the NCAA Regional Championship Meets the last weekend of May.
National Qualifying: Athletes, except for competitors in the 10,000 and heptathlon/decathlon, must place among the top-five in their respective events at the regional championship meet in order to advance to the national championship meet, June 9-12 in Austin, Texas.
Provisional Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K and heptathlon/decathlon who meet the provisional qualifying standard during the season are candidates to be selected for the national championship field. Provisional qualifiers are selected using a descending order performance list. The number of athletes selected from the provisional qualifiers list is determined by the number of automatic qualifiers in each event. The total number of athletes in the national championship field of each event is generally 16-18.
Automatic Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K or heptathlon/decathlon who meet the automatic qualifying standard during the season are guaranteed a spot in the national championship field.
THE QUALIFIERSDuring the 2004 outdoor season, 12 New Mexico athletes earned qualifying marks for either the NCAA national or regional championship meets. Last year, 14 individuals, and the members of both the UNM men's 4x400m and 4x100m relay teams, qualified for the regional meet. Lobo athletes qualified in four different women's events and 12 men's events during the '03 season.
(1 in 1 men's events)
Jr. Matt Gonzales
10,000m * 28:22.77 * Cardinal Invitational - Stanford, Calif. (April 30)
NCAA Provisional Qualifiers
(4 in 2 men's events)
So. Dan Feltman
Decathlon * 7,022 pts. * MWC Championships - Las Vegas, Nev. (May 12-13)
Sr. Mark Johnson Decathlon * 7,325 pts. * MWC Championships - Las Vegas, Nev. (May 12-13)
Jr. Ben Ortega
10,000m * 29:36.66 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 16)
NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifiers
(12 in 5 men's and 4 women's events)
Sr. Jason Barkemeyer
Shot Put * 56-09.50 * UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (March 27)
Discus * 173-02 * Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (April 2)
Jr. Amanda Barnes
Shot Put * 50-11.00 * MWC Championships - Las Vegas, Nev. (May 15)
Jr. Hank Baskett
High Jump * 6-11.00 * MWC Championships - Las Vegas, Nev. (May 14)
Fr. Kayla Brown
Javelin * 142-05 * Willie Williams Classic - Tucson, Ariz. (March 19)
Fr. Robert Caldwell
Pole Vault * 16-04.75 * NMSU Invitational - Las Cruces, N.M. (April 3)
Jr. Cameron Clarke
5,000m * 14:13.90 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 16)
Jr. Jamie Fishencord
Hammer * 179-04 * Don Kirby Invitational - Albuquerque, N.M. (May 1)
Jr. Matt Gonzales
5,000m * 13:44.52 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 16)
Javelin * 152-01 * Don Kirby Invitational - Albuquerque, N.M. (May 1)
Jr. Bridgid Isworth
Pole Vault * 12-07.50 * MWC Championships - Las Vegas, Nev. (May 14)
Sr. Mark Johnson
Pole Vault * 16-04.75 * Texas Relays (decathlon) - Austin, Texas (April 1)
Jr. Derek Mackel
Pole Vault * 16-04.75 * Mesa Classic - Mesa, Ariz. (April 9)
italics indicate athlete will not compete at the Midwest Regional Championships
CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES!Seven UNM track and field athletes will cross the undergraduate finish line this week when they receive their bachelor's degrees. The list includes: seniors Jason Barkemeyer, Leighton Katsuda, Matt Bishop, Brooke Gosling, David Lloyd and Amanda Swann, and junior Matt Keeran (a medical redshirt this year), who finished his BBA in just three years.
Senior Mark Johnson, meanwhile, will receive his masters of business administration this spring in just four years after earning his undergraduate degree in Spanish last year. A 4.0 graduate student, Johnson has earned academic all-MWC honors each of his three years on the track and is a finalist for a $7,500 NCAA postgraduate scholarship. The Fontana, Wisc. native will be looking for athletic honors as well this week as he goes for his second career decathlon title at the MWC Championships. Johnson has competed in 150 events during his Lobo career, including five decathlon competitions.
SWIFTER, HIGHER, STRONGERUnder the direction of fourth year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the 2004 Lobos have continued to improve their outdoor performances. Through eight weeks of competition this season, the Lobos have eclipsed the top marks of a year ago in 26 events. In addition, 16 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 (15 events)
100m: (12.65~ 12.47, -0.18 sec.), 200m: (24.94 ~ 24.53, -0.41 sec.), 400m: (56.68 ~ 55.28, -1.40 sec.), *800m: (2:22.11 ~ 2:13.39, -8.72 sec.), *1,500m: (4:42.62 ~ 4:30.99, -11.63 sec.), *5,000m: (17:51.63 ~ 17:13.59, -38.04 sec.), 10,000m: (no competitors ~ 41:25.19), 3,000m Steeplechase: (no competitors ~ 12:14.86), 400m Hurdles: (1:05.54 ~ 1:04.28, -1.26 sec.), 4x100m Relay: (47.90 ~ 47.83, -0.07 sec.), *4x400m Relay: (3:48.76 ~ 3:48.07, -0.69 sec.), *Shot Put: (48-06.25 ~ 50-11.00, +2 ft., 4.75 in.), *Discus: (137-04 ~ 151-09, +14 ft., 5 in.), *Hammer: (157-03 ~ 179-04, +22 ft., 1 in.), *Javelin: (141-01 ~ 152-01, +11 ft.)
Men (11 events)
*5,000m: (13:48.35 ~ 13:44.52, -3.83 sec.), *10,000m: (28:26.88 ~ 28:22.77, -4.11 sec.), 3,000m Steeplechase: (no competitors ~ 9:36.56), *110m Hurdles: (14.74 ~ 14.48, -0.26 sec.), *High Jump: (6-09.50 ~ 6-11.00, + 1.50 in.), 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 ~ 175-07, +19 ft., 7 in.), *Decathlon: (6,525 pts. ~ 7,325 pts., +800 pts.)
* indicates top time/result under fourth year head coach Matt Henry