March 4, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Apparently, Matt Gonzales wasn't ready for his indoor career to end on Friday evening at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational last chance meet. Running the 5,000 meters for the first time ever indoors, Gonzales won the event with a stunning school record and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 13:49.06 to become the first member of the UNM men's team in 14 years to secure a national indoor championships berth.
The Santa Fe native finished three seconds ahead of the runner-up, Ohio State's Brian Olinger, and was one of four runners in the race to record automatic qualifying times. Teammate Ben Ortega, the former UNM record holder and Mountain West Conference 5K champion, did not fare as well, unfortunately, and had to pull out of the race due to an injury.
A two-time outdoor All-American in the 10,000, Gonzales is the second Lobo under fifth-year head coach Matt Henry to advance to the NCAA indoor championships. Chip Smith was the last male to move on to the indoor nationals, competing in the 3,000 at the 1991 meet.
In other Friday events, freshman Whitney Johnson capped her season with an eighth place finish in the pole vault, clearing 11-11.75. Senior Amanda Barnes fouled on each of her three weight throw attempts, but will get one last chance at a national indoor championship berth when she competes in the shot put on Saturday.