Nationally Ranked Lobos Face First Big Test At Notre Dame
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/01/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 1, 2009

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The University of New Mexico cross country schedule heats up on Friday when the No. 24 Lobo men and 25th-ranked UNM women take on an elite national field at the Notre Dame Invitational. The New Mexico men will put all of their top runners on the starting line for the first time this fall as they face eight top-30 opponents in the 8K blue race (3 p.m. Mountain). The Lobos will be one of nine top-30 teams in the women's 6K blue race, including No. 1 Washington, which begins at 2:15 p.m. (Mountain) at the Notre Dame Golf Course.


Sr. Ashley Gibson ('08 NCAA all-region...scored in 6 of 9 career races...NCAA 1,500m qualifier in `09)
So. Lacy Oeding (1st team all-MWC (2nd)/MWC Fr. of the Year...NCAA all-region...scored in all 8 career races)
Jr. Ruth Senior (top-5 in first 2 U.S. races...led team in official UNM debut on Sept. 19...steeplechase standout)
Sr. Nicky Archer (Lobos' No. 1 4x in '08...1st team all-MWC, NCAA all-region...NCAA Outdoor 10K qualifier)
Jr. Vanessa Ortiz (RS all of 2008-09...has scored in all 12 career races...'06 MWC Freshman of the Year)
Sr. Laura Bowerman (Missed `07-08 XC seasons...'09 outdoor all-MWC (5K)...'05 NCAA XC qual. at Florida State)
Jr. Delyth James (12th in UNM debut on Sept. 19...XC specialist from Birmingham (England) Univ.)

Sr. Jacob Kirwa (Lobos' No. 1 4x in '08...1st team all-MWC (5th), NCAA all-region...54-sec. home win on Sept. 5)
Sr. Chris Barnicle (Making UNM XC debut...'09 10K All-American for the Lobos...2x NCAA all-region at Arkansas)
Sr. David Bishop (Led UNM 2x and scored in all 7 career races...NCAA all-region...'09 NCAA reg'l 1,500m qual.)
Sr. Rory Fraser (NCAA all-region, 2nd team all-MWC in '08...'09 NCAA indoor/outdoor 5K qual...season debut)
Sr. Lee Emanuel (Scored 10x in 12 career XC races...'08 NCAA all-region...'09 NCAA mile champion/1,500 All-American (3rd))
RS-Fr. Allen Pittman (Top-11 in first 2 official races...XC RS in `08...No. 1 runner for nat'lly ranked Los Alamos HS in `06 & `07)
So. Patrick Ortiz (Has scored 3x in 6 career races...No. 2 freshman in the MWC in '08 (35th)...top-25 first 2 meets of `09)


Complete information and results from the 2009 Notre Dame Invitational can be found on the official athletic department website of the University of Notre Dame:



Course: Notre Dame Golf Course (sea level; flat)

Schedule (Mountain Time):
Women's Blue Division 6K Race - 2:15 p.m.
Men's Blue Division 8K Race - 3 p.m.

Race Conditions: The weather forecast for Friday afternoon calls for mostly cloudy skies with race-time temperatures around 59 degrees and 18 mph winds. Humidity could be a slight factor with levels over 50%. There is a 20% chance of precipitation.

Nationally Ranked Teams:
Women's (9) - No. 1 Washington, No. 3 Florida State, No. 6 Princeton, No. 12 Providence, No. 13 Arizona State, No. 15 Florida, No. 22 Penn State, No. 25 New Mexico, No. 27 Rice.

Men's (8) - No. 11 Tulsa, No. 15 Providence, No. 20 Butler, No. 22 Washington, No. 24 New Mexico, No. 26 Florida State, No. 28 Notre Dame, No. 30 Princeton.

Meet History: The Notre Dame Invitational (54th running) is one of the nation's oldest and largest intercollegiate cross country meets. It was started in 1956 and has been run continuously ever since.


The New Mexico men and women finished eighth and tied for ninth, respectively, at the 53rd running of the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3, 2008. The 29th-ranked New Mexico men (240 points) knocked of No. 8 Michigan (276), while the 18th-ranked UNM women (257) tied No. 10 Illinois. The men's and women's field featured 18 nationally ranked squads.

New Mexico, which competed just six days earlier at Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational, ran on short rest for the only time this fall. Collegiate cross country teams generally get 14 days rest between meets.

Both Lobo sides relied on tight grouping to stay among the top half of the elite fields. Neither squad placed a runner in the top-25, but both were within striking distance of some of the premier teams in the nation.

The UNM men finished just 32 points out of fifth place, while the women's team was a mere 12 points out of sixth. The New Mexico women - who entered the national top-30 poll for the first time in 21 years this week - defeated three ranked teams in No. 20 Texas Tech, No. 25 Boston College and No. 28 North Carolina.

No. 3 Florida State (88) was an easy winner over No. 6 Princeton (124) on the women's side. The 26th-ranked Seminole men (81) completed the sweep, cruising to victory over upstart Tulsa (126).

Junior transfer Jacob Kirwa led the Lobo men for the second time in three meets, finishing 33rd overall (24:24) in the 8,000-meter race. Fellow junior David Bishop was 37th (24:27), while junior Brock Hagerman was 48th (24:34).

Another junior, Rory Fraser, was 56th (24:39), while senior Lee Emanuel was 66th (24:44) to cap the New Mexico scoring. The Lobos' top five runners were separated by a season-low 20 seconds.

On the women's side, junior Nicky Archer paced UNM with a 27th place finish, completing the 5,000-meter course in 17:13. Senior Carolyn Boosey ran second on the team for the third-straight meet, finishing 44th with a time of 17:23. True freshman Lacey Oeding continued her stellar rookie season, placing 52nd (17:31), while senior Michelle Corrigan was 59th (17:36). It was the first time in seven career meets at New Mexico that Corrigan was not the Lobos' top runner.

Junior transfer Ashley Gibson was 75th (17:45) to cap the UNM scoring. The Lobos' pack spread was a season-low 32 seconds.


Lobo Invitational (Sept. 5)
He may have not been officially wearing the cherry and silver, but University of New Mexico senior Jacob Kirwa left no doubt that he was the class of the 10th Lobo Invitational meet at the UNM North Golf Course. Kirwa, who ran unattached, opened his second season at New Mexico with a dominating 54-second victory in the men's 8,000-meter race, crossing the line in 24:03.59. He was the first Lobo to win the men's race since Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott in 2004.

Senior Ashley Gibson paced the Lobo women with a second place finish in the 5K, crossing the line in 17:31.45 - 10 seconds behind the winner, UTEP's Risper Kimaiyo. Gibson - an NCAA Championships qualifier in the 1,500 - notched the highest finish of her cross country career.

The top eight women's finishes all ran under the previous 5K course record of 18:13.

Sprits were high in the easy-going opener. Lobos Lee Emanuel, David Bishop and Allen Pittman joined hands and high-fived fans down the final stretch as they crossed the line ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively.

Sophomore Lacey Oeding (fourth), senior Laura Bowerman (sixth) and junior Vanessa Ortiz (10th) joined Gibson in the top-10 of the women's race. It was Bowerman's UNM cross country debut and Ortiz's first race since 2007 after both women redshirted last fall.

Kachina Classic (Sept. 19)
The No. 22 University of New Mexico women's cross country team placed its five scoring runners in the top-10 en route to a 29-33 victory over UTEP at New Mexico State's Kachina Classic. For the first time in his tenure, third-year head coach Joe Franklin sent his top women's runners to the NMSU Golf Course, but held out several of his top runners from the 26th-ranked men's team, which finished second behind UTEP (31-52).

As they've done for the past two seasons, the New Mexico women used a tight pack to dominate the top-10 in the 5K race. Junior transfer Ruth Senior (18:17.1), senior Ashley Gibson (18:28.0), and sophomore Lacey Oeding (18:33.7) finished 3-4-5. Senior Nicky Archer was seventh (18:43.0) in her season debut, while junior Vanessa Ortiz was 10th (19:01.4) to cap the scoring. The Lobos' top five runners were separated by just 45 seconds.

Senior David Bishop continued his strong early season running with a second place finish in the men's 8K, crossing the line in 26:02.0 - 50 seconds behind Dine College standout Nicolas Kipruto. Redshirt freshman Allen Pittman joined Bishop in the top-10, finishing ninth with a time of 26:55.2.


Take one look at the 2009 men's and women's roster and it's clear that third-year head coach Joe Franklin is building a national cross country powerhouse at the University of New Mexico. Both teams return a slew of experienced runners and have added several impact newcomers. Both were also picked to finish second in the preseason Mountain West Conference coaches poll and are expected to be ranked among the top-30 when the national preseason poll comes out in two weeks.

The Lobo women broke through for their first conference cross country title last year, defeating eight-time champion BYU, 31-33, in the closest championship meet in MWC history. New Mexico went on to finish second at the NCAA Mountain Regional and 18th in their first NCAA Championship appearance since 1985.

Senior Nicky Archer leads a group of four returning NCAA all-region runners and is one of three first team all-MWC honorees back this fall. Archer, a two-time MWC Athlete of the Week, led the Lobos' in four of seven meets in 2008 and followed that with strong indoor and outdoor track seasons, including an NCAA berth in the 10,000m (14th). Fellow all-region and first team all-MWC honorees Lacey Oeding (So.) and Carolyn Boosey (Sr.) also return after excellent 2008 campaigns.

Oeding shocked the league with a second place at the MWC Championships, leading the team to the conference title en route to MWC Freshman of the Year recognition. She went on to finish 10th at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships in February. Boosey, meanwhile, was third at the MWC Championships and 18th at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet during a breakthrough fall.

Senior Ashley Gibson earned all-region honors as the Lobos' No. 6 runner last fall and, according to Franklin, is in the best shape of her career. An NCAA Championships qualifier in the 1,500 last spring, Gibson could be one of the most improved runners on the team this fall.

Junior Vanessa Ortiz - the 2006 MWC Freshman of the Year - also returns after redshirting all of 2008-09. Like Gibson, Franklin says Ortiz has never been in better shape and could give the Lobos a major scoring punch in `08. Franklin is also looking for rejuvenated senior Laura Bowerman to make a big impact after overcoming a serious foot injury to earn all-MWC honors in the 5,000 during the outdoor season.

Several newcomers will push for top-seven spots as well. Junior transfer Ruth Senior is a top flight steeplechase runner, freshman Sarah Higgens was the top prep steeplechase runner in the country last spring and owns the Indiana state meet record in cross country, and fellow freshman Janna Mistos has also been impressive during summer training.

The deep, talented men's team will be led by five outstanding seniors in Jacob Kirwa, Chris Barnicle, Rory Fraser, David Bishop and Lee Emanuel.

Kirwa enters the 2009 season in fantastic condition, following a stellar outdoor track season. Kirwa captured the MWC 5,000m title and was the NCAA Midwest Region runner-up in the event after leading the Lobos in four of six meets during the cross country season. The Diné College transfer was fifth at the MWC Championships to earn first team all-MWC honors and was an all-region selection as well.

Barnicle, an Arkansas transfer, made his UNM debut during the outdoor season and went on to earn All-America honors with a 13th place finish in the 10,000m at the NCAA Championships. He was a two-time all-region runner for the Razorbacks and helped the team advance to the 2007 NCAA Championships.

Fraser was an all-region and second team all-MWC runner for the Lobos last fall and went on to compete in the 5,000 at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. A strong middle distance man on the track, Bishop led the team in two meets last fall, including the NCAA Mountain Region Championships where he earned all-region honors with a 14th place finish.

Emmanuel, meanwhile, was a surprising 17th at the NCAA Mountain Championships before turning in the greatest track and field campaign ever by a UNM middle distance runner. The two-time All-American won gold in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships after rewriting the UNM record book at every distance from 800 to 3,000 meters during the winter, then followed with a bronze medal performance in the 1,500 at the NCAA Outdoor meet.

Promising redshirt freshman Allen Pittman, junior Brian Vallie - a second team all-MWC runner in 2007 - and junior transfer Keith Gerrard have all shown the ability to be elite scoring runners for the Lobos as well.


The 2008 season saw the bar raised once again under head coach Joe Franklin. The fall produced the school's first ever conference championship in women's cross country. That team had its most all-league picks in school history and went on to finish 18th in its first NCAA Championship appearance since 1985. The Lobo men's cross country team had its best score ever at an NCAA Regional, just missing the NCAA Championship cut. Both squads were nationally ranked during the regular season.

Like all Lobo programs, success and progress also is measured and stressed in the classroom. Both the UNM men's and women's cross country teams earned All-Academic Team honors handed out by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men's team had eight named to the MWC All-Academic Team and the women matched that number.

Here is a list of some of the many highlights of New Mexico's 2008 cross country season:

-- The UNM women won their first Mountain West title, which also marked the first conference title in school history for the women. UNM placed Lacey Oeding, Carolyn Boosey and Nicky Archer on the all-MWC first team with Leslie Luna and Michelle Corrigan making the second team. It was the most all-conference Lobos in school history.

-- Joe Franklin was the MWC's 2008 Women's Cross Country Coach of The Year.

--The UNM women finished second at the NCAA Mountain Regional and returned to the NCAA Championships for the first time in 23 years, finishing 18th. The women's score at regionals was their best since 1981.

-- On the men's side, Jacob Kirwa was first team all-MWC with teammates Rory Fraser and Mat Ashton notching second team honors.

--The women had program record six runners on the all-region team: Michelle Corrigan, Lacey Oeding, Nicky Archer, Carolyn Boosey, Leslie Luna and Ashley Gibson. Luna became the second Lobo to earn all-region honors three times in a career.

-- The UNM men finished fourth at the NCAA Mountain Regional, placing a program record four runners on the all-region team: David Bishop, Lee Emanuel, Jacob Kirwa and Rory Fraser. Their regional score was their best ever.

-- Nicky Archer became the second Lobo woman ever to earn MWC Athlete of The Week honors twice in a season.