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New Mexico's Finest Visit Austin For 79th running of the Texas Relays
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/05/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 5, 2006

UPCOMING

The University of New Mexico will send 22 of its best track and field athletes to Austin, Texas this week for one of the biggest meets in America, the 79th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Held in front of near capacity crowds at the 20,000-seat Mike A. Myers Stadium on the UT campus, the Texas Relays is an annual gathering for many of the nation's top professional, collegiate and high school track and field athletes. The New Mexico contingent will be in action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Live event-by-event results will be available at www.texassports.com.

Senior Jamie Fishencord (hammer throw - 12 p.m. Mountain) and sophomore Zach Graham (section B pole vault - 2:30 p.m. Mountain) will open the meet for the Lobos on Thursday afternoon, while majority of the group competes on Friday.

The men's and women's 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay races will be held throughout the morning, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. The all sophomore team of Kristan Matison, Ariel Burr, Tabatha Shaw and Shakira Williams will run the 4x100 for the UNM women, while seniors Aaron Brack and Jerrell Malone, sophomore Jarrin Solomon and freshman Taylor Siemon will comprise the men's 4x100 team. Burr, Williams, junior KC Pritchard and freshman Christina Zarrella will run the 4x400 for the women, while Solomon, Siemon, junior Randle McCain and sophomore Kurt Henry will handle the long relay for the men.

Meanwhile, freshman Katie Coronado (section B javelin), sophomore Tiyana Peters (section B high jump) and sophomore Whitney Johnson (section B pole vault) will all begin competition at 9 a.m. (MST) on Friday morning. Fishencord will throw the discus (section B) at noon, while the men's javelin (section B) duo of senior Matt Keeran and freshman Anthony Fairbanks will compete on Friday evening at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, freshman Josh Cosio will compete in the (section B) high jump at 10 a.m., followed by the Lobos' two 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship qualifiers, senior Derek Mackel and junior Robert Caldwell, in the elite section A pole vault competition at 2 p.m.

THE TEXAS RELAYS AT A GLANCE

Results: Live event-by-event meet results will be available online at www.texassports.com.

Schedule: New Mexico's athletes will compete on Thursday afternoon and throughout the day on Friday and Saturday (April 6-8).

Thursday - April 6
Sr. Jamie Fishencord (hammer) - 12 p.m.
So. Zach Graham (section B pole vault) - 2:30 p.m.

Friday - April 7
Women's 4x100m relay prelims - starting at 8:30 a.m.
Men's 4x100m relay prelims - following W - 4x100
So. Whitney Johnson (section B pole vault) - 9 a.m.
Fr. Katie Coronado (section B javelin) - 9 a.m.
So. Tiyana Peters (section B high jump) - 9 a.m.
Women's 4x400m relay prelims - approx. 11 a.m.
Men's 4x400m relay prelims - approx. 12 p.m.
Sr. Jamie Fishencord (section B discus) - 12 p.m.
Sr. Matt Keeran (section B javelin) - 6 p.m.
Fr. Anthony Fairbanks (section B) - 6 p.m.

Saturday - April 8
Fr. Josh Cosio (section B high jump) - 10 a.m.
Sr. Derek Mackel (section A pole vault) - 2 p.m.
Jr. Robert Caldwell (section A pole vault) - 2 p.m.

Weather: Thursday's forecast calls for cloudy skies, a high of 87, winds at 13 mph and 61 percent humidity. Friday's forecast projects sunny skies, high of 91, 7 mph winds and 40 percent humidity. Saturday's forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 78, 8 mph winds and 54 percent humidity. There is a 20 percent chance of precipitation throughout the weekend.

Texas Relays Rookies: Fifteen of the 22 Lobos traveling to Austin this week will be making their debut on the big stage at the Texas Relays, including four Texans and three Austin natives in seniors Aaron Brack (Austin - Del Valle HS) and Jerrell Malone (Rowlett - outside of Dallas), and sophomores Tabatha Shaw (Austin - Charles Akins HS) and Shakira Williams (Austin - Lyndon Baines Johnson HS).

Texas Relays Veterans: The following is a breakdown of how the seven Lobos with past Texas Relays experience have done at the meet:

Sr. Matt Keeran
2003: 7th - 205' 9", 2005: 16th - 191' 4" (both section B javelin)

Sr. Derek Mackel
2005 (section A pole vault): 3rd - 17' 8 1/2"

Sr. Jamie Fishencord
2005 (section B discus): 11th - 148' 1", 2005 (hammer): 8th - 180' 5"

Jr. Robert Caldwell
2005 (section B pole vault): T3rd - 17' 3/4"

So. Whitney Johnson
2005 (section B pole vault): 8th - 12' 11 1/2"

Jr. KC Pritchard/So. Ariel Burr
2005 (part of the women's 4x400m relay team): 40th - 3:49.62

POLE VAULTERS LOOK TO SHINE IN LONE STAR STATE

The 2005 Texas Relays proved to be a breakout meet for the New Mexico pole vaulters as Derek Mackel, Robert Caldwell and Whitney Johnson all surpassed the NCAA regional standard with career-high jumps outdoors in their first trip to Austin.

Caldwell cleared 17' 3/4" to finish third in the section B competition, while Mackel defeated two ranked vaulters and shattered his PR with a mark of 17' 8 1/2" en route to a third place finish in section A. Johnson, meanwhile, missed the UNM record by a quarter of an inch with a mark of 12' 11 1/2", which as good for eighth in section B.

All three vaulters return to the Texas Relays this year, along with sophomore Zach Graham, who will make his Relays debut in the section B competition. After a couple of no heights to start the year, Johnson will also look to jump start her outdoor campaign in section B of the women's event.

The marquee event for the Lobos this weekend will be Caldwell and Mackel in the elite section A competition. Both men earned all-Mountain West Conference honors and qualified for the NCAA Championship meet during the 2006 indoor season. Caldwell went on to finish eighth at nationals, earning a spot on the All-America team, and is currently 10th in the first Trackwire.com pole vault rankings of the outdoor season. The Socorro, N.M. native is one of five nationally-ranked vaulters in Saturday's competition, along with No. 2 Robison Pratt of BYU, fifth-ranked Chip Heuser of Oklahoma, No. 11 Ray Scotten of Nebraska and No. 12 Sage Thames of Texas Tech. Mackel, meanwhile, is one of several national qualifiers in the vent, along with Nebraska's Gable Baldwin, Oklahoma's Scott Martin and Texas Tech's Bobby Most.

LAST TIME OUT: CARDINAL & GOLD INVITATIONAL/UTEP SPRINGTIME INVITATIONAL

Senior Derek Mackel won the pole vault for the second straight week to lead a solid University of New Mexico effort against national powers Texas A&M and Southern California at the Cardinal and Gold Invitational at USC's Loker Stadium. New Mexico junior Jeremy Johnson and senior Jacquelyne Gallegos combined to sweep the 3,000-meter run, while promising freshman Anthony Fairbanks earned his first collegiate victory in the javelin.

Mackel cleared 17' ", four inches higher than his nearest competitor, before voluntarily ending his day. The Albuquerque Sandia product notched his fourth win in eight indoor/outdoor pole vault competitions this year and was one of four Lobos to record regional qualifying marks on the day.

Fairbanks punched his ticket to the NCAA regional meet with a mark of 206' 4" on his final legal throw. The former Albuquerque Highland standout came from behind to defeat Texas A&M's Chad Brown by 3 feet. Fellow freshman javelin thrower Katie Coronado also secured her spot at the regional championships with a throw of 148' 8" on her first run, which was good for third on the women's side. Junior Robert Caldwell, meanwhile, surpassed the regional pole vault standard with a mark of 16' 6 3/4" en route to a third place finish.

On the track, Gallegos (10:03.78) issued a strong declaration of health in her season debut with a 10-second victory in the 3,000. The Lobos' longtime distance standout missed most of her final indoor season with a hamstring injury, which she suffered during the final month of the fall cross country season. Johnson, meanwhile, ran away from four Aggie runners to take the men's 3K with a time of 8:24.97.

Down in El Paso, Texas, meanwhile, senior Jamie Fishencord led a group of women's throwers at the UTEP Springtime Invitational. Fishencord won the discus with a throw of 140' 5" and finished second in the hammer with a mark of 177'. Rookie Briana Paxton turned in a solid performance in the shot put, placing third with a mark of 42' 10 3/4".

Other notable performance from the weekend included:

- The women's 4x400-meter relay team of Ariel Burr, Sandy Fortner Shakira Williams and KC Pritchard who finished second, behind USC and ahead of Texas A&M, with a time of 3:46.45, easily the fastest during head coach Matt Henry's six-years at UNM.

- Senior Aaron Brack, who finished third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.66, the fastest by a Lobo since 2003, and came back to place fifth in the 200 (22.42). Brack also led the UNM 4x100m relay team to a second place finish behind USC with a season-best time of 41.27.

- Sophomore Kurt Henry, who clocked a career-best time of 1:57.56 to place fifth in the 800, and senior Frank Hemingway, who finished fourth in the 1,500m (3:58.36) in one of the best races of his UNM career.

- Sophomore Domnick Meadows who recorded a career-best mark of 47 1 " (9th) in a powerful triple jump field.

- Freshman Sandy Fortner, who clocked a career-best time of 14.82 in the 100-meter hurdles and a career-best mark of 18' 9 " in the long jump en route to fourth place finishes in both events.

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