May 5, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - University of New Mexico senior Jeremy Johnson secured his return to the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet with a sensational performance in the 10,000-meter run late Sunday night at Stanford's elite Payton Jordan Invitational. Johnson clocked a career-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 28:33.08 - fourth among collegians at the meet - in his first 10K race of the year.
Junior teammate Mat Ashton, meanwhile, took a big step toward locking up his first NCAA Championship bid with a time of 28:56.39 - 12 seconds shy of the automatic standard - in his second 10,000 of the season. It was the first sub 29-minute 10K of his career.
An All-American in the event last year, Johnson ran over 14 seconds under his previous best in the 10,000 - recorded last year at Stanford - and was nearly 12 seconds under the automatic qualifying time. His time is the third-fastest in Mountain West Conference history behind BYU All-American Josh Rohatinsky and former Lobo teammate Matt Gonzales.
Earlier in the day, junior Lee Emanuel finished eighth out of 17 runners in the top section of the men's 1,500. Ranked fifth in the country entering the meet, Emanuel clocked a time of 3:42.42 - fourth among collegians in the race. Emanuel was thrown off stride briefly at the beginning of the bell lap after a collision between three runners directly in front of him, including the 2007 NCAA 1,500 champion Lopez Lamong.
Senior Kara Henry, meanwhile, was just off her career-best in the 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 10:38.58 (20th).