Jan. 15, 2009
UPCOMINGAfter a year hiatus, the indoor track is back at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The University of New Mexico, in conjuction with the City of Albuquerque, will host the first of four consecutive meets downtown at the Convention Center when it welcomes four collegiate teams, including the 2008 NCAA Division II Indoor champion Adams State women, for the Lobo Opener on Saturday. The field events begin at 10 a.m., followed by the first race on the track at 11:40 a.m. Admission is $5 at the door.
The indoor track and field facility at the Albuquerque Convention Center earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the premier venues in the America during the 2006 and 2007 seasons before a scheduling conflict at the Convention Center eliminated the home schedule in 2008. In its first two full seasons of competion, the Convention Center welcomed 31 top-25 men's and women's teams and several world class professional athletes. A remarkable 25 automatic qualifying marks and 249 provisional qualifying marks to the NCAA Indoor Championships were recorded from 2006-07, including a collegiate record in the men's heptathlon in 2006.
While Saturday's event will be more of a tune-up meet, the competition is expected increase dramatically in the following weeks when UNM hosts the Cherry & Silver Invitational (Jan. 24), New Mexico Multis and Invitational (Jan. 30-31), and New Mexico Classic (Feb. 7).
LOBO OPENER MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSTeams (5): Adams State (Division II), New Mexico, New Mexico State (women only), Western State (Division II), San Francisco State (women only)
Scouting The Opponents: Traditional Division II power Adams State enjoyed another strong campaign in 2008. The Grizzly women won the NCAA D-II Indoor title and finished second outdoors, while the ASC men were third indoors and fourth outdoors. Western State's men and women each notched top-25 finishes indoors and outdoors at the 2008 NCAA D-II Championships, including a 10th place for the Mountaineer men indoors.
Results: Event-by-event results will be posted on the bulletin board near the finish line corner of the facility, near the timing table. Complete HTML results will available on www.GoLobos.com immediately following the meet.
2009 LOBO INDOOR PREVIEWThe UNM women feature talented depth primarily in the jumps and distance events, along with one of the nation's premier multi-event athletes in senior Sandy Fortner. Fifth-year senior Ariel Burr - the 2007 Mountain West Conference indoor 400-meter champ - also returns after redshirting last winter.
Juniors Alesha Walker and Deanna Young, the indoor school record holders in the long jump and triple jump, respectively, lead a strong jump/vault crew. Both were on the bubble for NCAA Championship berths during their breakout 2008 indoor/outdoor seasons and will be strong candidates to advance to the national meet this year. Fortner is a tremendous weapon in the long and high jump, while senior triple jumper Hagit Salamon and sophomore triple jumper Asal Salehpoor could make an impact in the MWC scoring race as well. Senior pole vaulter Whitney Johnson also has the potential to be an all-conference performer in 2009.
Senior Michelle Corrigan set the UNM indoor 5,000m record last winter before being sidelined with an illlness and is coming off a sensational cross country campaign. Cross country teammates Carolyn Boosey, Nicky Archer, Lacey Oeding, and Leslie Luna give the Lobos an outstanding long distance corps, while newcomers Ashley Gibson, Emma Reed, and Andrea Wright should give the Lobos a strong contingent in the middle distance events.
With Burr running the 400, the Lobos have the potential to assemble a top-flight distance medley relay team this winter.
On the men's side, the Lobos have weapons in almost every track event, as well as a few key performers in the field.
Senior Lee Emanuel set the UNM mile record last winter, then went on to capture the MWC 1,500 crown, and could be a factor at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet in 2009. Senior Jarrin Solomon, the UNM indoor 400 record holder, returns after redshirting in 2008 and will team with junior Philip Reid and freshman phenom Dominick Roberts to give the Lobos a real presence in the 400 meters.
Emanuel, sophomore Ryan Steadman, and junior Brian Vallie are all-MWC caliber 800 runners, while senior Mat Ashton and newcomers David Bishop, Rory Fraser, and Jacob Kirwa have great potential in the 3,000 and 5,000. Former Lobo wide receiver Jermaine McQueen could be one of the best 60-meter men in the MWC this winter, along with improving sophomore Chris Keeling.
Like the women, the Lobo men have the potential to put together an elite distance medley relay team in 2009, as well as a 4x400 team that could challenge for an MWC title.
In the field events, senior high jumper Josh Cosio was the MWC runner-up indoors and outdoors in 2008, while senior Domnick Meadows was an all-conference honoree in the triple jump and finalist in the long jump. Up-and-coming thrower Matthew Henry-Marshall could also be a factor in the weight throw this winter.
LOBO ALL-AMERICAN PITCHES IN ON TRACK SET-UPSecond-year UNM head coach Joe Franklin and his staff worked around the clock in late December and early January to put the track together in the 106,000-square foot Fran Hill Exhibit Hall at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Franklin received a big assist from former Lobo pole vaulter Robert Caldwell - a two-time All-American who graduated last spring. Caldwell enlisted the help of workers at his company, Pro Fab, and TLC Plumbing to help with the assembly of the track.
New Mexico opens the 2009 indoor season on Saturday, Jan. 17 with the Lobo Opener. It will be the first of four straight home meets: the Cherry and Silver Invitational (Jan. 24), New Mexico Multis and Invitational (Jan. 30-31), and the New Mexico Classic (Feb. 7).
The Mountain West Conference Championships will return to Albuquerque in 2010.
"Setting it all up has been a labor of love, but our kids are so excited to have this facility back in Albuquerque," Franklin said. "(Former UNM coaches) Matt and Mark Henry, and Scott Steffan did a great job of putting on some amazing meets in prior seasons and we're eager to pick up where they left off in 2007.
You're going to see some very fast times on the track and big marks in the field events here this winter and our athletes are thrilled to be able to compete each week at home in front of their friends and family."