June 10, 2004
AUSTIN, Texas - University of New Mexico junior Matt Gonzales finished fourth tonight in the 10,000-meter race at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships to become the first Lobo in 13 years to earn All-America honors back-to-back years. Gonzales, who had the top-seeded time in the race, clocked a time of 29:58.05 in the wet and humid conditions. Arkansas senior Alistair Cragg, ranked No. 1 in the event by Trackwire.com took home the gold after finishing second in 2003.
Running for the first time ever in Austin, Gonzales attempted to seize control of the sluggish pack, surging ahead at the 3,000-meter mark. Cragg and Arizona sophomore Robert Cheseret, however, made their move with 5,000 meters remaining and slowly broke away from the pack.
A fatigued Gonzales faded to sixth, but displayed real grit in the final lap as he battled back into the race. The Santa Fe native passed two runners and nearly caught third place finisher, Simon Bairu of Wisconsin, over the final 400 meters.
With his finish, however, Gonzales became the Lobos' first two-time All-American in the 10,000 and the first repeat All-America honoree in a running event since the legendary Adolph Plummer (440-yard dash) in 1961-62.
Gonzales, the highest finishing American in Thursday's race, will compete on yet another big stage next month when he runs another 10K at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif.