May 30, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. - Another day, another dominant University of New Mexico javelin performance. This time if was senior Katie Coronado who followed teammate Anthony Fairbanks' stirring victory on Friday with her second straight women's javelin title this afternoon at the NCAA Midwest Regional Track and Field Championships. Like Fairbanks, Coronado recorded the two longest throws of the day, winning by nearly six feet with a mark of 179' 9" (54.78m).
Coronado's effort helped he UNM women set school records with a 13th place finish and 19 points. She was also one of a program-best five all-Midwest Region honorees. UNM has averaged 16 points and notched top-20 finishes at the regional meet each of the last three years after scoring a total of 9.5 points in its first four regional appearances (2003-06).
On the men's side, meanwhile, senior Jarrin Solomon placed fourth in the 400 meters to help the men on New Mexico finish tied for ninth with 25 points - both program records. It's the first time UNM has ever notched a top-10 regional finish on the men's or women's side. The Lobo men also had a record four athletes earn all-region honors.
Five Lobos earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, while two more guaranteed themselves at-large bids during the two-day meet. As many as four more UNM runners could also see their name called when the NCAA 10,000m field is announced on Monday.
Once again it was New Mexico's javelin dominance that set the tone for the day. Top-seeded Coronado took the lead on her second attempt of the day and never looked back, becoming the first Lobo to win multiple regional crowns. The Ruidoso, N.M. product earned her third straight trip to the NCAA Championships, joining former javelin All-American Sarah Nicholson (1995-97) for the most NCAA appearances in program history.
The women's big Saturday kept going on the track as junior Ashley Gibson became the first UNM woman ever to advance to the NCAA Championships in the 1,500m with a third place finish. Gibson crossed the line in 4:25.88 - just two seconds out of first - to earn all-region honors in her Midwest Regional debut. The Loughborough, England product was also the first UNM woman ever to qualify for regionals in the event.
Later, Solomon secured his second NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance and earned all-region honors for the second time in the 400 with a time of 46.07. The Albuquerque La Cueva product became the Lobos' first two-time NCAA Outdoor qualifier in the event. Solomon, who redshirted all of 2008, earned Indoor All-America honors earlier this year with a fifth place finish in the 400.
Earlier, in the men's 1,500, senior Lee Emanuel floated home to a ninth place finish (3:53.63), easily securing his second straight NCAA trip. Boasting the nation's No. 2 time in the event, Emanuel needed only to finish today's race to advance to the NCAA meet. The 2009 NCAA Indoor mile champion opted to conserve his strength in preparation for the back-to-back 1,500 races looming two weeks from now.
Junior Kim Perkins concluded her breakthrough season by earning all-region honors with an eighth place finish in the 400 hurdles (1:02.04). The Clovis, N.M. product was the first UNM woman to qualify for regionals in the event.