New Mexico to Host 18th Don Kirby Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/30/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 30, 2008


The University of New Mexico will host the 18th Annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, sponsored by the Modrall Sperling law firm this Saturday at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. This will be the lone home meet for the Lobos and final tune-up before the Mountain West Conference Championships on May 14-17. The field events begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by the running events at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The Don Kirby Invitational will not only feature some outstanding collegiate talent from nationally ranked UTEP, New Mexico State (women only), Diné College, New Mexico Junior College, South Plains Junior College and the host Lobos, but also a handful of Olympic hopefuls with accomplished resumes.


A number of outstanding postcollegiate athletes will be competing on Saturday, including an elite trio in the men's 200m dash led by 2008 World Indoor gold medalist (USA 4x400 team) and two-time USA Indoor 400 champion James Davis.

Davis, a former Colorado All-American who will also be competing in the 400-meter dash, will be joined in the 200 by former UTEP standouts Taiwo Ajibade (Nigeria) and Jario Duzant (Netherlands Antilles). Ajibade won the Western Athletic Conference 100m title in 2003 and earned All-America honors with the Miners' 4x100 relay team in 2001. Duzant won WAC titles in the 200 in '03 and with the 4x100 team in '02 and '03.

Former Lobo, 2006 NCAA Midwest Region champion and current UNM volunteer coach Derek Mackel (Albuquerque Sandia HS) and former Arizona standout and NCAA Championships qualifier Kevin Opalka will be among the unattached competitors in a strong men's pole vault field.


Senior Jeremy Johnson and juniors Lee Emanuel and Mat Ashton will head to the Payton Jordon Cardinal Invitational hosted by Stanford this Sunday (May 4). This is where the top distance talent in the country will be and the three Lobos going are right in the mix.

Johnson will look to run his first 10,000 meters of the season and hopes to come home with an NCAA automatic qualifying time. Ashton will run the same race and will try to move up in to the top-15 in the country to assure his spot at the NCAA Championships. Emanuel will go head-to-head against the nation's top talent in the 1,500-meter run, where he is ranked fifth in the country.


Final meet Results will be available at www.gostanford.com



With temperatures in the high 70s and winds up to 17 miles per hour the conditions should be ideal for a distance runner. The skies will be clear and there will be a 20 percent chance of precipitation.


Results: Final Meet Results will be available at www.golobos.com

Schedule: On Friday afternoon the Hammer throw will begin at 5:30pm with the Men up first followed by the women. Due to construction around the stadium, the hammer throw will be located west of The Pit this year.

Saturday will kick off with field events at starting at 10:30 a.m. with the men's discus. Running events will start off at 2:50 p.m. with the women's 4x100m Relay.

Teams Competing: UTEP, New Mexico State (women only), Diné College, New Mexico JC and South Plains JC.

Rio Grande Rivalry presented by Route 66 Casino Hotel: The Lobo women will have a competition within a competition, as they will go head-to-head against the New Mexico State Aggies in final event of the Rio Grande Rivalry. UNM has a commanding 14.75 - 6.75 lead in the series but that doesn't mean the Lobos will be letting up. The New Mexico women have seven regional qualifiers that will be on full display trying to wrap up the victory for UNM.

Albuquerque Weather Report: Saturday should be near perfect conditions for track and field fans and athletes alike with partly cloudy skies, a high of 74 degrees and winds around 12 miles per hour. A 20 percent chance of precipitation will also be in the forecast.

Directions: The G.F.O. UNM Track Stadium is located on Avenida Cesar Chavez, east of University Blvd. The track facility is on the east side of University football stadium. Fans should enter at the north side of the facility.

Don Kirby Memorial Invitational History: Named in honor of the longtime Albuquerque meet official and friend of the UNM track and field program, the first Don Kirby Memorial Invitational was held on April 2, 1991 as a scored meet between the men's and women's teams of New Mexico, San Diego State and Cal State Los Angeles. The Lobos won the men's competition 141-94 over runner up SDSU but finished second behind the Aztecs on the women's side, 128-74.5.

Last year the Lobos sent retiring head coach Matt Henry out on a good note as they won 15 events in his final home meet. Junior Ariel Burr highlighted the day, as she became the first UNM woman to qualify for the NCAA regional championship in the 200 meters.

For the third year in a row, sophomores Anthony Fairbanks and Katie Coronado swept the javelin. Fairbanks bested the field with a throw of 208' 9" (63.63m), while Coronado recorded her second-best mark of the year with a toss of 167' 6" (51.06m).


Already a beautiful facility the home of UNM track and field received a touch-up that has made the best track in New Mexico even better. A Daktronics scoreboard was recently installed in the southeast area of the stadium thanks to a generous gift by Lucille Fallen and O.D. McDonald. The scoreboard will indicate times, lane assignments and complete event results.

The scenery off the track has also changed to suit the level of class on the track. The landscaping has been improved as well as the additions of lettering, wind screens and painting to let visitors know that they are in fact at the University of New Mexico. The press box has also been expanded for the working media.

Future improvements include the John Baker Memorial Track Offices to be renovated giving New Mexico a first class administrative facility and lounge at the stadium. A Wall of Honor, sponsored by the New Mexico Track & Field Club is also being developed to permanently recognize the greatest teams and athletes in Lobo history.


"The Don Kirby Invitational is going to be a great experience for us. It's great to be on our home track especially with finals coming up. We have been traveling so much, it's nice to come home and for the kids to run in front of their family, friends and the alumni.

"We have UTEP coming in, who is nationally ranked in the top-10. We also have New Mexico State, Dine College, New Mexico JC and South Plains JC, who is ranked highly in any division. There will be quality national level competition in every event."

"Alesha Walker will jump for the first time in the two weeks. It should be great to see her jump on our surface here. The men's pole vault will feature some of the best competitors in the nation and should be a great event. The men's 800 should be a great race as well."

"Ariel Burr will be on full display this weekend. She will run the 4x100, 4x400 and the 200. This will be the first time we field relay teams. They should be close to hitting a regional qualifying time."

"We have three athletes heading to Stanford this weekend. Jeremy Johnson needs to qualify for the 10,000. He will be facing the best in the county in one of the best races in the country to this point. Mat Ashton will also look to better his time in the 10,000 to assure himself a spot in the national championships. Lee Emanuel will go as well. We want Lee to concentrate on running a very good race and not to worry about time."


New Mexico senior Jarrin Solomon will apply for a medical redshirt for the 2008 outdoor season. Solomon had been severely limited by pneumonia much of the spring that has prevented him from competing and limited him to only three races this year. He also suffered a hamstring injury this week that made the decision to shut him down a logical one.

Solomon, who redshirted the 2008 indoor season, also had a redshirt year available outdoors and his three competitions in the first half of the season was within the NCAA limits to petition for a medical redshirt. The defending MWC outdoor 400-meter champion and 2007 NCAA Championships qualifier plans to resume training as soon as he gets healthy to prepare for the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Trials in late June. Solomon competed with the T&T 4x400 team last summer at the 2007 World Championships in Japan.


Senior Jeremy Johnson took full advantage of running at one of the premier distance destinations in the country this past weekend as he posted the MWC's top time in the 5,000 meters at Oregon's historic Hayward In his first long distance race of the year, Johnson posted a time of 13:51.84, which is almost four seconds ahead of BYU's Kyle Perry. The Albuquerque native will travel to Stanford this weekend for his first 10,000 of the year.


Five weeks into the outdoor season the Lobos have 11 athletes that are qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on May 30-31.

Seven women, including four-time regional qualifier Ariel Burr (400 meters) and two-time regional qualifiers Katie Coronado (javelin), Tiyana Peters (high jump) and Kara Henry (3,000 steeplechase) have punched their tickets to Lincoln, Neb. First timers Deanna Young (long jump and triple jump) and Alesha Walker (long jump) round out the Lobo women qualifiers.

On the men's side, four-time qualifier Robert Caldwell (pole vault) and three-time qualifier Anthony Fairbanks (javelin) have secured their spots. British transfers Lee Emanuel (800 and 1,500) and Mat Ashton (5,000), meanwhile, earned their first trips to the regional meet.

Burr and Caldwell are the first four-time regional qualifiers in UNM history. This is the first year the Lobos have had a regional qualifier in the 3,000 steeplechase, long jump, triple jump and 800.


Sophomore skiing sensation Polina Ermoshina made her track in field debut this past Saturday at the Mt. SAC Relays in the 5,000 meters. The product of Moscow, Russia ran an MWC top-15 time of 17:41.04 in her first collegiate race. A three-time All-American Nordic skier for the Lobos, Ermoshina looks to make an immediate impact on the Lobos' distance program. She also helped the UNM women's cross country team to a 3rd place MWC finish this past fall.


Sophomore sensations Alesha Walker and Deanna Young have helped put the Lobo women's track and field team on the national map. The women's team spent two weeks ranked 24th in the nation thanks to some key performances by Walker and Young.

Walker's school record-breaking jump of 21' 4" at the UTEP Invitational on April 12 is the sixth best leap in the nation. Walker's jump is still top 20 in the world as of April 30 according to www.iaaf.org. Young whose forte is the triple jump has the 27th best mark in the nation at 42' 5 ¼" and also owns the nations 20th best long jump with a mark of 20' 6 ¼" (March 29).

Other Lobo Women Contributing to National Ranking:
Jr. Katie Coronado - Javelin (171' 5") - Ranked 8th Nationally
Sr. Tiyana Peters - High Jump (5' 10") - Ranked 12th Nationally
Jr. Sandy Fortner - Heptathlon (5,343) - Ranked 15th Nationally


Junior Transfer Lee Emanuel missed the 19-year-old school record in the 1,500 by 2.17 seconds when he clocked a 3:40.77 on April 12 at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe Ariz. Emanuel's time is current ranked fifth nationally and is the best in the Mountain West Conference - almost four seconds ahead of BYU's Kyle Perry. The Hastings, England product holds the UNM indoor school record in the mile at 4:04.27.

Other Lobo Men with a National Ranking:
Sr. Robert Caldwell - Pole Vault (17' 6 ½") - Ranked 9th Nationally
Jr. Anthony Fairbanks - Javelin (224' 11") - Ranked 16th Nationally
Sr. Jeremy Johnson - 5,000 (13:51.84) - Ranked 16th Nationally
Jr. Mat Ashton - 10,000 (29:12.81) - Ranked 21st Nationally
Jr. Lee Emanuel - 800 (1:50.16) - Ranked 40th Nationally


At Cal's Brutus Hamilton Invitational:
Junior Katie Coronado improved to a perfect 6-0 in the javelin senior Robert Caldwell picked up his first pole vault victory of the season and junior Lee Emanuel won the 800 meters to lead the University of New Mexico over the weekend at California's Brutus Hamilton Invitational. Coronado defeated the nearest competitor -2006 Western Athletic Conference champion Inger Appanaitis of Nevada - by over 12 feet with a mark of 164' 4" (50.09m) on her second attempt. It was the fifth straight meet Coronado has surpassed the 160-foot mark.

After finishing second behind UNM volunteer coach Derek Mackel last week at TCU, Caldwell got the best of his former teammate on Friday, winning the top section of the pole vault with a mark of 17' 2 3/4" (5.25m). Caldwell cleared the height on his first attempt, while Mackel cleared on his third attempt.

Emanuel also earned his first victory of the year, improving his career-best and NCAA regional qualifying time to 1:50.16 in his second 800 race of the spring. Emanuel, who currently owns the fastest time in Mountain West Conference in the 1,500, defeated Cal's Sean Carey by 0.61 seconds.

At the Oregon Relays:
University of New Mexico senior Jeremy Johnson was in All-America form in one of the nation's most storied track and field venues on Friday night. Johnson clocked a Mountain West Conference-leading and NCAA regional qualifying time of 13:51.84 to finish third among collegians and fifth overall in the elite 5,000-meter run - his first race at Oregon's legendary Hayward Field.

It was the first long distance race of the year for Johnson, a 10,000-meter and cross country All-American who was awarded a medical hardship waiver last month that gave him a sixth-year of eligibility. The Albuquerque Manzano High School product opened the spring with a 1,500 race at Stanford.

Earlier in the day, New Mexico senior transfer Kara Henry clocked a time of 10:38.20 to finish seventh among collegians and 10th overall in the women's 3,000 steeplechase. Henry lowered her personal and school record time in the event by nearly three seconds as she ran under the NCAA regional qualifying time for the second time this season.


Several Lobos are highly ranked in the Mountain West Conference and with a little less than three weeks left until the MWC Outdoor Championships in Fort Worth (May 14-17), the Lobos will look to improve in the conference standings. New Mexico has seven athletes currently ranked No. 1 in the conference in their respective events with seven other marks ranked among the top-3 in the MWC.

Junior transfer Lee Emanuel leads the MWC in the 1,500 with a time of 3:40.77. After a week out of the top three in the 800, Emanuel now holds the third spot in the conference with a time of 1:50.16. British mate and fellow junior transfer Mat Ashton has the best spot in the 10,000 with a time of 29:12.81. Junior javelin thrower Anthony Fairbanks leads the MWC by over nine feet with a top mark of 224' 11" (68.55m).

Junior high jumper Josh Cosio cleared 6' 8 ¾" (2.05m) - the second best mark in the conference. Senior pole vaulter Robert Caldwell's mark of 17' 6 ½" (5.35m) is the top spot in the MWC.

On the women's side, juniors Tiyana Peters and Sandy Fortner hold the first and third best marks in the MWC in the high jump. Peters has tied a career best with a 5' 10" (1.78m) leap while Fortner cleared 5' 7" (1.70m). Fortner also holds the 2nd best mark in the heptathlon with 3,434 points. Junior Katie Coronado has the MWC top throw in the javelin of 171' 5" (52.25m), which is 14 feet ahead of the next competitor.

Sophomores Alesha Walker and Deanna Young have the first and third best leaps in the long jump. Walker smashed the 18 years old New Mexico school record as she flew into the MWC lead with a jump of 21' 4" (6.50m). Young made her season debut a quality outing at the when she just missed the UNM school record with a jump 20' 6 ¼" (6.25m). Young also owns the MWC third best triple jump spot with a mark of 42' 5 ½" (12.94m).

Other Lobos Ranked in the Top 10 in the MWC include:

200 Meters
Ariel Burr - 8th (24.36*)

400 Meters
Ariel Burr - 4th (54.55)

100 Meter Hurdles
Sandy Fortner - 8th (14.38*)

5,000 Meters
Kara Henry - 7th (17:00.97)
Carolyn Boosey - 8th (17:01.42)

400 Meter Hurdles
Kim Perkins - 6th (1:01.41)

3,000 Meter Steeplechase
Kara Henry - 4th (10:38.20)
Carolyn Boosey - 7th (10:56.74)
Stasia Ploskonka 10th (11:32.80)

Long Jump
Sandy Fortner - 10th (19' 4 ¾")

Triple Jump
Brittany Smith - 6th (37' 10 ½")

Shot Put
Briana Paxton - 7th (44' 3 ¼")
Sandy Fortner - 8th (44" 8 ¾")

Vanessa Strobbe - 8th (135' 5")

400 Meters
Philip Reid - 7th (48.02)

800 Meters
Ryan Steadman - 7th (1:51.81)

1,500 Meters
Jeremy Johnson - 7th (3:50.00)

5,000 Meters
Mat Ashton - 4th (14.09.78)

Pole Vault
Kyle Walker - 6th (16' 0 ¾")
Adam Martinez - 7th (15' 7")

Hammer Throw
Matthew Henry-Marshall 7th (171' 1")