Biggest Cross Country Meet In New Mexico Runs Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/07/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 7, 2005

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The University of New Mexico cross country season gets underway this Saturday, Sept. 10 as the Lobos welcome six collegiate teams for the annual UNM Lobo Invitational at the UNM North Golf Course. Under sixth-year head coach Matt Henry, the Lobo Invite has become the biggest cross country event in the state of New Mexico, which traditionally boasts a wealth of distance running talent. The meet field this year includes over 30 high school teams, competing in six prep races. The day begins with a 5K community fun run at 7 a.m., followed by the high school races from 8-8:30 and the collegiate competition at 8:40.

As usual, the collegiate field will feature some of the top teams in both the region and nation. Colorado State has maintained one of the top programs in the Mountain West Conference over the past seven years. The CSU men and women both qualified for the NCAA Championship meet last year and have traditionally been one of the premier teams in the Mountain Region. Big 12 foe Texas Tech won the women's race at the 2004 Lobo Invitational and could have one of its best men's teams in school history this fall. The Red Raider men and women swept the team titles in their home opener on Sept. 3. Rio Grande rival UTEP also swept the men's and women's races in their home opener last weekend after both finished third in the WAC last year. The Miners return their top two men's runners in senior All-American Mircea Bogdan and sophomore Stephen Samoei, the 2004 WAC Freshman of the Year. Division II powers Adams State and Western State will bolster strength of the field as well. The Adams State women have won back-to-back national titles and a Division II record 10 championships overall. The Grizzlies men, 2003 NCAA D-II champs, were second last fall. Both teams dominated the field of their home opener last weekend. Western State, meanwhile, won its sixth Division II men's national championship last year and return three All-Americans from the 2004 squad. The Mountaineer women placed third a year ago and have All-American Agnes Kroneraff back to lead the team in `05. New Mexico State rounds out the Division I field. LSU was scheduled to make the trip to Albuquerque for the fifth-straight year before it was forced to cancel its travel plans due to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Thirty-six New Mexico high schools are slated to take part in the six prep races at the UNM North Golf Course on Saturday. Some of the confirmed teams include: Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque HS, Cibola HS, Eldorado HS, La Cueva HS, Los Alamos HS, Manzano HS, Pojoaque HS, Rio Rancho HS, Sandia HS, Santa Fe HS, St. Michael's HS, St. Pius X HS, West Mesa HS, Capital HS, Bloomfield HS, Taos HS, Cathedral HS, Thoreau HS, Gallup HS.




For the second year, UNM head coach Matt Henry and his staff are welcoming runners of all ages to open the Lobo Invitational with a 5K community fun run on one of the best spectator cross country courses in the nation. The community fun run will take place at 7 a.m. prior to the six high school races and men's and women's collegiate races at the UNM North Golf Course.

For a minimal fee of just $10, runners of all ages can register at the course on the day of the meet. Representatives from the UNM Cross Country/Track & Field program will be available to assist you at the course. All proceeds from the Community Fun Run will benefit the UNM Cross Country/Track & Field program.



Collegiate results will be available online at www.golobos.com approximately one hour following the conclusion of the women's 6K race. Collegiate results will also be emailed upon request. Please contact Alfredo Moreno at avmoreno@unm.edu to request results.

High school varsity results for the top-10 individual finishers and team standings will also be available at www.golobos.com. Complete varsity results will be posted at the course and provided to coaches. Results for junior varsity and C team races will be posted at the course only.

7:00 a.m. - Community Fun Run (5,000m)
8:00 a.m. - Varsity Boys (5,000m)
8:20 a.m. - Varsity Girls (5,000m)
8:40 a.m. - Collegiate Men (8,000m)
9:10 a.m. - Collegiate Women (6,000m)

9:30 a.m. - Junior Varsity Boys (5,000m)
9:50 a.m. - Junior Varsity Girls (5,000m)
10:10 a.m. - C Team Boys
10:30 a.m. - C Team Girls

DIRECTIONS: (the golf course is located near the corner of Yale Blvd. and Tucker Rd. on the UNM North Campus)

(from I-25 north) Take Lomas exit and head east, towards the mountains, on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.

(from I-25 south) Take Lomas exit and turn left, heading east on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.

(from I-40) Exit I-25 south then take Lomas exit and head east, towards the mountains, on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.

This season marks the sixth running of the UNM Lobo Invitational under head coach Matt Henry. After a six-year absence, Henry brought NCAA cross country competition back to Albuquerque with the 2000 Lobo Invitational, which was also held at the North Golf Course. In 2002, Henry expanded the meet to include six high school races and last year, he added a 5K community fun run to open the day. Each year, thousands of knowledgeable distance running fans flock to UNM's North Campus to watch the competition on one of the most spectator-friendly cross country courses in the nation.

UNM's men and women each placed third out of five teams at Henry's first Lobo Invite before the meet was moved to the Paradise Hills Golf Course in northwest Albuquerque in 2001. Both Lobo squads finished second, behind the Air Force, in a four-team field. New Mexico's Sarah Gonzales provided the highlight of the day with her wire-to-wire victory in the women's race.

The 2002 competition was a preview of the elite 2002 NCAA Mountain Region Championship meet, which was also held at the UNM North Golf Course later that year. Five members of the 18-team Mountain Region, which is arguably the premier cross country grouping in the country, were represented at the meet. New Mexico's Cameron Clarke finished second to lead the Lobo men to an impressive 21-point victory over the field. Jacquelyne Gallegos had a career-best second place finish to help the UNM women finish second.

In 2003, Sean Flaherty finished 18th to lead the UNM men to a fourth place finish in the 14-team field. Riann Lucy, meanwhile, placed 27th in her first career race to help the Lobo women finish fifth out of 13 teams.

Last fall, Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (first) and Matt Gonzales (second) blew away the field to lead the New Mexico men (35 points) to a convincing victory over an 11-team field that included 2003 NCAA Championship qualifier Texas A&M (67 points). On the women's side, junior Jacquelyne Gallegos finished third overall to lead a young Lobo squad to a third place team finish.



2000 • Western State (22 pts.) • Brandon Leslie, Adams State (24:34)
2001* • Air Force (26 pts.) • Ben Payne, Air Force (24:20)
2002 • New Mexico (21 pts.) • Ben Payne, Air Force (24:01)
2003 • Colorado State (35 pts.) • Will Banks, Western State (24:45)
2004 • New Mexico (35 pts.) • Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, UNM (24:44)


2000 • Western State (21 pts.) • Jennifer Michel, unattached (21:38)
2001* • Air Force (30 pts.) • Sarah Gonzales, UNM (22:25)
2002 • Air Force (39 pts.) • Rachel Cuellar, NMSU (22:04)
2003 • Colorado State (36 pts.) • Adriana Pirtea, UTEP (22:10)
2004 • Texas Tech (26 pts.) • Irene Kimaiyo, Texas Tech (22:01)

* 2001 meet was held at the Paradise Hills Golf Course in West Albuquerque.

(on this year's Lobo Invitational field): "Personally, I think this year is probably the best meet we've been able to put together. I'm really excited about the teams that we have coming in. At that early of a date, it really is an excellent meet. We're going to be able to tell some things about our group right off the bat. I know that Texas Tech and UTEP probably have the best groups that they've had in a long time on the men's side. They are really fine teams and it will be interesting to see what we can do against them. Of course Colorado State, Adams State and Western State are always tough. On the women's side, Texas Tech's and Colorado State's girls have been able to push us around a little bit over the past few years, but I'm anxious to see what our girls can do on Saturday."

"We also have a great 5K run that day that's open to anybody in the community that wants to come by and run a very unique course, then watch a lot of outstanding high school and collegiate races. This really is a big day for cross country in the state of New Mexico. We've had a great response to this meet over the years and that means a lot to me to have the state come out for this meet."

(on racing at the UNM North Golf Course): "To me, it's the best spectator course in the country. If people are willing to walk a short distance to some of the key points, they can really see a lot of the race. That means a lot to me too. I don't think fans have gotten a chance to know cross country because traditionally you watch the runners leave, then stand around waiting for them to finish. In this case, you really can go out there and actually observe what is going on in that race. The North Course is the University of New Mexico and it's our home."

University of New Mexico head coach Matt Henry has built the UNM program by using his greatest natural resource: New Mexico high school distance runners. Of the 39 men and women on the 2005 roster, all but seven are products of New Mexico high schools. Each of the Lobos' NCAA Championship competitors, All-Americans and all-Mountain West honorees during Henry's tenure has graduated from an in-state high school.