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Loaded Field Awaits Nationally Ranked Lobos At Notre Dame
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/02/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 2, 2008

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UPCOMING

After placing its men's and women's teams in the national rankings together for the first time in school history the University of New Mexico has no time to admire its accomplishments, returning to action on short rest for Friday's 53rd running of the Notre Dame Invitational. The No. 18 Lobo women will be one of 12 nationally-ranked teams, while the 29th-ranked UNM men will take on seven ranked foes in the marquee Blue Division races. The action gets underway at 2:15 p.m. (Mountain).

Second-year UNM head coach Joe Franklin said that both squads are expected to be close to full strength on Friday after a flu bug hampered several members of the men's team last weekend at Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational. Both sides will be racing on six days rest after the women ran a 6K (3.7 miles) and men completed an 8K (5 miles) on Sept. 27. Collegiate cross country schedules generally include 14 days between meets.

NOTRE DAME INVITATIONAL AT A GLANCE

Course: Notre Dame Golf Course (sea level; flat)

Schedule (Mountain Time):
Women's Blue Division 6K Race - 2:15 p.m.
Men's Blue Division 8K Race - 3 p.m.

Race Conditions: The weather forecast for Friday afternoon calls for sunny skies with race-time temperatures around 60 degrees and light winds. Humidity could be a slight factor with levels nearing 50%. There is a 20% chance of precipitation.

The Fields: The women's Blue Division race will feature 23 teams, while the men's section will have 25 squads competing.

Nationally Ranked Teams:
Women's (12) - No. 3 Florida State, No. 6 Princeton, No. 10 Illinois, No. 13 Providence, No. 14 Florida, No. 15 Michigan, No. 18 New Mexico, No. 19 Rice, No. 21 Texas Tech, No. 25 Boston College, No. 28 North Carolina, No. 30 Stoney Brook.
Receiving Votes: Akron, Notre Dame, SMU, Tulsa

Men's (7) - No. 8 Michigan, No. 9 Georgetown, No. 19 Providence, No. 26 Florida State, No. 27 Notre Dame, No. 28 Texas A&M, No. 29 New Mexico.
Receiving Votes: Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Princeton, Tulsa.

Meet History: The Notre Dame Invitational (53rd running) is one of the nation's oldest and largest intercollegiate cross country meets. It was started in 1956 and has been run continuously ever since.

NEW MEXICO TRAVEL SQUAD

WOMEN:
Sr. Michelle Corrigan (1st team all-MWC...has led Lobos' in all 6 meets...MWC Athlete of the Week - Sept. 30)
Sr. Carolyn Boosey (Scored in all 7 career races...10th at Roy Griak Invite...'08 team captain)
Jr. Nicky Archer (Transfer from U. of Birmingham (England)...won Lobo Invite...16th at Griak Invite)
Fr. Lacey Oeding (2x class 3A all-state XC at Jasper (Ind.) HS...23rd (team No. 4) in official debut at Griak Invite)
Jr. Ashley Gibson (Trans. from Loughborough Univ. (England)...34th (team No. 5) at Griak Invite)
Sr. Leslie Luna (2-time all-MWC & all-Mountain Region...medical redshirt in `07...9th at `08 Lobo Invite)
So. Emma Reed (Trans. from Boston U...52nd in official debut at Griak Invite...5th unattached at Lobo Invite)
Jr. Polina Ermoshina (3x All-American Nordic skier at UNM...has scored in 2 of 5 career XC races)

MEN:
Jr. David Bishop (Trans. from U. of Wales Institute, Cardiff...British Univ. 3K champ...led team (17th) at Griak Invite)
Jr. Jacob Kirwa (Trans. from Diné College (Shiprock, N.M.)...2x USCAA nat'l XC champ...18th at Griak Invite)
Jr. Brock Hagerman (2x all-region...2nd team all-MWC...52nd (team No. 3) in `08 debut at Griak Invite)
Jr. Rory Fraser (Trans. from Leeds Metropolitan U. (England)...6th at `08 Lobo Invite...65th (flu) at Griak Invite)
Sr. Lee Emanuel (Scored 6x in 8 career races...MWC 1,500m champion/NCAA qualifier...67th at Griak Invite)
Sr. Mat Ashton (2nd team all-MWC...10th in the 10,000m at `08 NCAAs...76th (flu) in `08 debut at Griak Invite)
Jr. Alex Willis (Scored 4x in 12 career races...top-7 in all 6 races in `07...10th running unattached at `08 Lobo Invite)

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete information and results from the 2008 Notre Dame Invitational can be found on the official athletic department website of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish:

www.UND.com

FROM HEAD COACH Joe Franklin

"This race is a bit daunting, on the women's side in particular. It's a pretty impressive field, from North Carolina, to Michigan, Princeton is a traditional cross country power, then you have the important ones for us - school like Stoney Brook, Boston College, Providence. Those are the important ones for us to beat in order to make the national championships.

"On the men's sid it's the same thing. You've got Florida State, Notre Dame - perennial powers. Add in there Lamar and Texas A&M from the South Central Region - I think those are teams to beat. We're coming off last weekend at Griak, which was great experience, but we've got to run better. Notre Dame has a very different course. It's very flat and fast. It's like a road race. So it'll be a different experience for us, but I feel that we're ready. The men and women rebounded really well from the travel (to Minnesota), which was pretty significant. We're looking forward to it and it should be a lot of fun."

WOMEN JOIN MEN IN NATIONAL TOP-30 RANKINGS

For the first time in school history the University of New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams are both ranked in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association top-30 poll. The women's team vaulted up to No. 18 - their first appearance in the national rankings since 1987 - following their impressive performance at Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 27. The men's team, meanwhile, maintained its top-30 status, checking in at No. 29.

The women of New Mexico sit atop the NCAA Mountain Region rankings for the first time in program history, while the men's team is fourth in the region. The Lobos are one of three Mountain West Conference teams ranked among the women's top-30, along with No. 17 Colorado State and 23rd-ranked BYU. New Mexico and No. 15 BYU are the lone MWC men's teams in the national rankings.

Oregon is the top-ranked team in both the men's and women's polls. The UO men are the defending national champions while the women were second at the NCAA Championships last year.

The UNM women rejoined the national rankings after a finishing third and knocking off No. 20 Duke at the Griak Invitational. The Lobos place their top four runners in the top-25 with seniors Michelle Corrigan and Carolyn Boosey finishing eighth and 10th, respectively.

New Mexico was ranked among the nation's top-20 for five consecutive years between 1983-87, climbing as high as 10th in the national poll in 1983.

CORRIGAN EARNS FIRST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK AWARD

Senior Michelle Corrigan has been selected as the Mountain West Conference Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week, the conference office announced on Sept. 30. Corrigan earns the weekly award for the first time in her career and is the second Lobo woman honored this fall along with junior Nicky Archer (Sept. 9).

After a five-year drought to start its MWC tenure, New Mexico has captured five Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week awards since 2004. Corrigan and Archer are the Lobos' first women's honorees since 2005 and are the only women other than former standout Jacquelyne Gallegos (three from 2004-05) to win the award.

Corrigan finished eighth to lead the New Mexico women to a third-place finish in the 23-team field at Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational meet held last Saturday. Corrigan moved up 12 spots over the second half of the 6K race, finishing with a time of 21:39.9 in her season debut. The Green Bay, Wisc., product's time currently ranks first in the league for the 6K distance.

Corrigan has led the Lobos in all six races since transferring to UNM from Mississippi State in the summer of 2007.

LAST TIME OUT: at the Roy Griak Invitational (Sept. 27)

The New Mexico women's cross country team entered the week hovering outside of the national top-30 rankings. After its performance on Sept. 27 at Minnesota's elite Roy Griak Invitational, the Lobos proved they belong among the top teams in the country.

New Mexico placed its top four runners in the top-25 en route to a third place finish (89 points) in the field of 23 today at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. The Lobos knocked off No. 20 Duke (105) and finished behind only No. 9 Minnesota (31) and No. 5 Arizona State (46).

The 15th-ranked UNM men finished tied for sixth (215) in a field of 25, despite two of its top three runners - senior Mat Ashton and junior Rory Fraser - slowed by a week-long bout of the flu. Division II power Adams State was a surprise winner (75), while No. 30 BYU was third (91).

Seniors Michelle Corrigan and Carolyn Boosey finished eighth and 10th, respectively, to lead the New Mexico women. Corrigan moved up 12 spots over the second half of the 6,000-meter race, finishing with a time of 21:39.9 in her season debut. The Green Bay, Wisc. product has led the Lobos in every race since joining the program last fall.

Boosey, meanwhile, passed seven runners over the final 3K, crossing the line with a time of 21:43.8. Junior transfer Nicky Archer paced the Lobos' early, running with the top five runners much of the race before placing 16th - just eight seconds behind Boosey.

True freshman Lacey Oeding had perhaps the most impressive performance of the day for UNM, moving up 39 spots over the final 3,000 meters to place 23rd overall with a time of (22:04.8). Junior transfer Ashley Gibson capped the Lobo scoring with a 34th place finish (22:21.4).

"The women were incredible today," said second-year Lobo head coach Joe Franklin. "We lost to a strong Minnesota team that was running on its home course and an Arizona team that was holding a trophy last fall (fourth place at 2007 NCAA Championships), but by no means we outclassed."

Junior transfers David Bishop and Jacob Kirwa finished 17th and 18th, respectively, to pace the New Mexico men. Bishop, who was third on the team three weeks ago at the Lobo Invitational, passed 17 runners over the final 3,000 meters, completing the 8K course in 24:49.8. Kirwa was just over a second behind at 24:51.2.

Junior Brock Hagerman was 52nd in his season debut with a time of 25:22.3. Junior Rory Fraser was 65th (25:33.5) and senior Lee Emanuel was 67th (25:34.5) to cap the UNM scoring.

As Franklin had feared earlier in the week, a flu bug hampered the men's team considerably. Team leader Mat Ashton ran sixth on the team and 76th overall, while Fraser was well off the pace he established in his debut race on Sept. 6 in Albuquerque when he ran right behind Kirwa.

"You never want to make excuses and the bottom line is that we didn't do what we set out to do today, but two of our top three runners were sick all week and we rolled the dice and tried to see what they could give us," Franklin said. "On a hilly course against the type of competition we saw today, it just didn't work out, but we are absolutely a top-25 team.

"The silver lining is the performances like ones that David Bishop gave us. We know that we have guys who can step up and lead us even if we're not at full strength."

HOSTS DOMINATE LOBO INVITATIONAL

Although no official team scores were kept, the University of New Mexico men and women left little doubt which program was the class of the 2008 Lobo Invitational cross country meet on Sept. 6 at the UNM North Golf Course.

Junior transfer Nicky Archer (Cheshire, England) was a wire-to-wire winner in the women's 5,000-meter race while fellow junior transfer Jacob Kirwa (Eldoret, Kenya) finished a strong second in the men's 8K to pace New Mexico in front of a large crowd of several thousand spectators.

Kirwa (24:44.78) helped the new-look Lobos make a strong statement against a field that included national power UTEP - the two-time defending Conference USA champions and preseason C-USA favorites. Kirwa was one of four Lobos to place among the top-10 with No. 5 man Lee Emanuel (Hastings, England) a close 12th.

While it won't count officially, New Mexico's hand-tallied score of 39 was 15 points better than the Miners who had won back-to-back Lobo Invitational team titles.

UNM also received a strong performances from junior transfers Rory Fraser (Leicester, England) and David Bishop (Chippenham, England), who finished sixth and ninth, respectively, in their first race at high altitude. Junior Alex Willis (Leadville, Colo.) - who ran unattached - was 10th, while Emanuel was 12th.

Rookie Allen Pittman (Los Alamos, N.M.) ran unattached, but was the sixth Lobo across the stripe, while sophomore Jason Petty (Albuquerque, N.M.) was seventh on the team and 22nd overall.

On the women's side, Archer clocked a sizzling time of 18:17.66 - six seconds ahead of senior teammate and runner-up Carolyn Boosey (London, England) - in her first race at altitude. Archer and Boosey led a group of seven Lobo women in the top-11.

True freshman Lacey Oeding (Jasper, Ind.) and sophomore transfer Emma Reed (Clevedon, England) placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while competing unattached. Senior Leslie Luna (Albuquerque, N.M.) made a solid return after taking a medical redshirt season in 2007, finishing ninth. Juniors Ashley Gibson (Newcastle, England) and Polina Ermoshina (Moscow, Russia) were 10th and 11th, respectively.

Second-year UNM head coach Joe Franklin held out several of his top runners on both sides, including all-Mountain West Conference runners Michelle Corrigan and Mat Ashton.

A LOOK BACK AT 2007

The 2007 UNM cross country season will go down as one of the more memorable campaigns in school history. Joe Franklin built upon the strong foundation laid down by retired head coach Matt Henry and gave the program a shot of energy in his first season at New Mexico.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2007 season:

• Senior Jeremy Johnson (Albuquerque Manzano) earned All-America honors with a 20th place finish in his NCAA Cross Country Championships debut...it was the fourth-highest finish in program history.

• Johnson and sophomore Brock Hagerman both earned all-NCAA Mountain Region honors to help the men's team finish fifth - its best at the regional meet since 2004, but just shy of the NCAA qualifying cut...Johnson's third place finish was the second-highest in program history.

• Johnson turned in a wire-to-wire victory at the Mountain West Conference Championship meet in Albuquerque to lead the UNM men to a second place finish (51 points) - just five points behind BYU - in its best conference performance since 1988...the men recorded their best score at the conference meet since 1965...Johnson became the first native New Mexican to win a conference cross country title for the Lobos since John Baker in 1964 and was the second UNM champion in the last 41 years...senior Mat Ashton and sophomores Brock Hagerman and Brian Vallie earned second team all-MWC honors.

• Junior Michelle Corrigan finished fifth to help the women's team place third at the MWC Championships...New Mexico placed both its men's and women's team among the top-three at the conference meet for the first since `88...Corrigan gave the Lobos a first team all-conference runner for a fifth-straight season - the longest streak in program history...the women placed all five scoring runners in the top-30 at the conference championships for the first time since 1986.

• Johnson took home back-to-back MWC Athlete of the Week awards on Oct. 3 and Oct. 17, becoming the first UNM men's runner to earn Athlete of the Week honors twice in the same season...Johnson and Jacquelyne Gallegos are the only New Mexico runners to win the award three times in a career.

• The UNM women's team opened the season with a bang, winning the Lobo Invitational for the first time since it moved to campus in 2000...New Mexico matched the meet record set by Division II power Western State in 2000 with a score of 21 points - 24 ahead of runner-up UTEP.

Saturday, September 06
All Day - 
Cross Country
vs. Lobo Invitational
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