Feltman 17th Midway Through NCAA Decathlon Competition
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  06/08/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

June 9, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - On a day that where the weather was far from ideal, University of New Mexico junior Dan Feltman got off to a bit of a slow start today in his NCAA Outdoor Championships decathlon debut at Hornet Stadium. Battling continuous rain showers along with the rest of the field, Feltman reached the midpoint of the 10-event competition in 17th place with a score of 3,465. Earlier in the day, fellow junior Matt Keeran turned in a courageous performance in the qualifying round of the javelin, finishing 15th in the field of 26 with a throw of 197-11.

Feltman was well off his career-best marks in each event today, but managed to keep himself within striking distance with a solid performance in the shot put. The Deming, N.M. native recorded a mark of 44-00.00, 10th-best overall, to move into 13th place after three events. He dropped back into 17th, however, after finishing 20th in the high jump (5-09.25) and 17th in the 400 (51.80). Feltman opened the afternoon by placing 13th in the 100-meter dash (11.55), then tied for 17th in the long jump (21-05.80). He wasn't the only decathlete to struggle with the conditions on day one, however, as six athletes in the original field of 26 failed to make through the first five events and dropped out of the competition.

Matt Keeran was just three spots shy of a spot in the finals.

Keeran, meanwhile, recorded his second best throw of the year in the javelin prelims and finished just three spots shy of earning an improbable trip to the finals despite dragging his black and blue leg on each attempt. The Albuquerque La Cueva product strained his hamstring en route to winning the Mountain West Conference title on May 14 and pulled the muscle completely two weeks later on his first throw at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet. His performance on Wednesday afternoon marked his first action of any kind since May 27, but he showed surprisingly little rust, recording his top mark on his first throw.

According to UNM head coach Matt Henry, the NCAA Championships experience will be invaluable for both returnees, regardless of the trouble caused by weather and injuries.

"I really think both of these guys can use what they're learning here in future competitions," he said. "I'm really happy with what Matt did, under the circumstances, and when he gets his elbow healed completely I think he's going to be a big time performer next spring. Dan is one of the youngest guys in this field and he's really learning each time he competes. Today his body just wasn't responding the way he wanted, but we're still excited about his chances tomorrow."

Feltman wraps up the final five events of the decathlon tomorrow, beginning with the 110-meter hurdles at 12:15 p.m. (MST). The final event, the 1,500 meters, is scheduled to begin at 9:20 p.m. Lobo senior Amanda Barnes, meanwhile, will make her national championship debut in the shot put at 9:30 p.m.