Lobos To Run For NCAA Championship Berth This Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/08/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 8, 2005

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A trip to the national championships will be at stake this Saturday when the University of New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams visit the East Bay Golf Course in Provo, Utah for the 2005 NCAA Mountain Region Championship meet. The top two teams automatically qualify for nationals and the first four individuals not on a qualifying team also earn an automatic berth. As many as four teams from the Mountain Region in previous years have earned at-large bids to the NCAA Championships. The women's 6,000-meter race begins at 11 a.m. (MST), followed by the men's 10K at noon.


Sr. Jacquelyne Gallegos (2-time NCAA qualifier, 2-time all-MWC & all-region...1 win, Athlete of the Week twice in `05)
Jr. Timmie Murphy (1st team all-MWC...career-best place (3rd) & 6K time at MWCs...redshirt in 2004)
So. Leslie Luna (1st team all-MWC...career-best place (6th) & 6K time at MWCs...scored in all 4 meets in `05)
So. Lindsay Barr (Scored in all 10 career meets...career-best 6K & highest finish (28th) in 8 races at MWCs)
Sr. Janice Tosa (23 career XC races, scoring for the team 21 times...career-best 6K time at MWCs)
Fr. Seny Archuleta (2004 state runner-up at Grants (N.M.) HS...only freshman to run in each meet in `05...scored at Auburn)
Jr. Roxann James (2004 JC All-American at Central Arizona...top-7 all 4 meets and scored at NMSU in `05)

Sr. Cameron Clarke (3-time all-MWC...UNM top runner all 4 races in `05, 7 in his career...31st at `02 regionals...4 career 10Ks)
Sr. Nate Clem (19 career races, scoring 12 times - all 4 races in `05...65th in regional debut in `04)
Jr. Juan Ortega (Scored 8 times in his career, all 4 in `05...last regional meet, 78th in `03)
Jr. Steven Martinez (Scored in 13 of 16 career races - all 4 in `05...40th at `04 regionals...3 career 10Ks)
So. Joseph Garcia (Scored in all 4 meets in `05...making regional meet debut/first 10K race this weekend)
So. Chris Bratton (Redshirt in `04...making regional meet debut/first 10K race this weekend...last race Oct. 8)


Complete information and results from the 2004 NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championships can be found on the official website of the host BYU Cougars or the NCAA Sports website:

BYU Athletic Department
NCAA Cross Country


Traditionally one of the country's strongest groupings, the Mountain Region boasts three nationally ranked teams on both the men's and women's sides this year. After sweeping the competition last year, Colorado's men are ranked No. 3 while the women are 10th in the nation. BYU, the runner-up on both sides in 2004, boasts the nation's seventh-ranked women's team and the No. 6 men's squad. The UTEP men enter the meet ranked eighth, while the Northern Arizona women are 17th.

Air Force and Colorado State both spent time in the men's top-30 during the season and are receiving votes in the latest national poll, along with Weber State. The Wildcats are also receiving votes in the women's poll.

The following is a breakdown of how New Mexico has fared in varsity meets against teams from the Mountain Region this fall:

Sept. 10 - Lobo Invitational (Albuquerque, N.M.)
vs. Colorado State (L, 59-89), vs. Texas Tech (W, 89-108), vs. UTEP (W, 89-243)

Sept. 24 - Stanford Invitational (Stanford, Calif.)
vs. Texas Tech (W, 267-269), vs. Nevada (W, 267-396)

Oct. 29 - MWC Championships (Fort Collins, Colo.)
vs. BYU (L, 23-74), vs. Colorado State (W, 74-75), vs. Wyoming (W, 74-121), vs. Air Force (W, 74-138), vs. Utah (W, 74-189)

Sept. 10 - Lobo Invitational (Albuquerque, N.M.)
vs. Colorado State (L, 75-153), vs. UTEP (L, 86-153), vs. Texas Tech (W, 153-170)

Sept. 24 - Stanford Invitational (Stanford, Calif.)
vs. Texas Tech (W, 235-253)

Oct. 29 - MWC Championships (Fort Collins, Colo.)
vs. BYU (L, 27-119), vs. Colorado State (L, 62-119), vs. Air Force (L, 73-119), vs. Wyoming (L, 108-119)


Since taking over the program at New Mexico in 2000, head coach Matt Henry has qualified one team (2004 men) five individuals (2001: Matt Gonzales, Ben Ortega, Jacquelyne Gallegos. 2002: Gonzales. 2004: Gallegos) to the NCAA Championship meet. Last year, the UNM men and women both turned in their best performance under Henry at the regional meet. Senior Matt Gonzales became the first Lobo ever to win the men's Mountain Region title, while junior Jacquelyne Gallegos notched the highest finish by a New Mexico woman since 1988. The following is a list of the Lobos' performances and all-region honorees at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships under Henry.

MEN - 10K
2000: 12th/17 (298 pts.) Top Runner: Ben Ortega - 26th (31:59.7) 2001: 9th/17 (189 pts.) Top Runner: Matt Gonzales - 9th (31:28.6) 2002: 7th/18 (186 pts.) Top Runner: Matt Gonzales - 8th (30:36) 2003: 13th/14 (313 pts.) Top Runner: Sean Flaherty - 48th (32:35.9) 2004: 4th/15 (136 pts.) Top Runner: Matt Gonzales - 1st (29:45.1)

2000: 14th/17 (344 pts.) Top Runner: Ashley Othick - 34th (22:39.2) 2001: 12th/18 (332 pts.) Top Runner: Jacquelyne Gallegos - 19th (22:29.8) 2002: 15th/17 (417 pts.) Top Runner: Sarah Gonzales - 74th (23:11) 2003: 13th/16 (317 pts.) Top Runner: Sarah Gonzales - 30th (22:11.1) 2004: 12th/16 (306 pts.) Top Runner: Jacquelyne Gallegos - 8th (21:03.2)

Men's All-Region Honorees*
Year • Athlete • Finish
2001 • Matt Gonzales • 9th
Ben Ortega • 11th
2002 • Matt Gonzales • 8th
2004 • Matt Gonzales• 1st
Ben Ortega • 8th

Women's All-Region Honorees*
Year • Athlete • Finish
2001 • Jacquelyne Gallegos • 19th
2004 • Jacquelyne Gallegos • 8th

*Under head coach Matt Henry


FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- With Mountain West Conference champion Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott at home in Albuquerque recovering from a severe case of food poisoning, fifth-year seniors Matt Gonzales and Ben Ortega turned in two of the best races of their careers to lead the 20th-ranked New Mexico men's team to a berth in the NCAA Championship meet for the first time since 1988.

Gonzales won the 10,000-meter race with a career-best time of 29:45.10, defeating Mircea Bogdan of UTEP by two seconds, while Ortega rebounded from a disappointing performance at the MWC Championships with his best race at the regional meet. Ortega ran a personal-best time of 30:07.3 and finished a career-best eighth out of 106 runners to help lead the Lobos to a fourth place finish, their best under head coach Matt Henry.

Needing a top six finish to likely secure a trip to the NCAA Championship meet, UNM scored 136 points, 46 ahead of No. 28 Northern Arizona and two points better than No. 24 Colorado State. Two years earlier, the Rams finished six points better than the seventh place Lobos to secure the final at-large berth out of the Mountain Region. Fourth-ranked Colorado (40 points) won the men's competition, while No. 9 BYU was second to secure the region's two automatic team berths. No. 14 Air Force, meanwhile, was third with 106 points.

Steven Martinez placed 40th (31:14.8), while the older brother Nick Martinez put a sluggish 2004 campaign behind him with a strong 48th place finish (31:27.1) as the Lobos' fifth scoring runner. Cameron Clarke, meanwhile, was 46th with a time of 31:23.2.

Earlier in the day, Jacquelyne Gallegos ensured that her remarkable comeback season would roll on with a stellar performance in the women's 6K. Gallegos finished eighth out of 112 runners to secure an automatic individual berth in the national championship field for the first time since her true freshman season of 2001. The Pojoaque, N.M. native crossed the line in 21:03.2, three seconds off her career-best time and less than a minute behind the winner, Renee Metivier of Colorado.

Gallegos' performance led New Mexico to a solid 12th place finish, just behind Texas Tech. True freshman Lindsay Barr capped a strong debut season by placing 61st (22:49.1), followed by sophomore Riann Lucy (79th - 23:13.4) and junior Janice Tosa (80th - 23:15.8). Senior Vanessa Funston led a tight pack of Lobos in her final race, finishing 90th (23:26.6). Freshmen Stasia Ploskonka and Leslie Luna were just behind in 91st (23:27.8) and 94th (23:35.1), respectively.


New Mexico will be racing at the East Bay Golf Course for the second time in head coach Matt Henry's tenure. The Lobos haven't visited Provo since the 2002 Mountain West Conference Championships, when the men placed third and the women were sixth. The NCAA Mountain Regionals were last held at the East Bay course in 2001. The UNM men placed 9th, while the women were 12th in `01.

Jacquelyne Gallegos and Cameron Clarke both competed at the 2001 regional meet as true freshmen. Gallegos led the women's team and earned her first trip to the NCAA Championships by placing 19th (22:29.8), while Clarke was the Lobos' fourth scoring runner, placing 53rd overall (32:53.1). An injury kept Gallegos out of the 2002 MWC Championships, but Clarke turned in one of the best races of his career, placing third to earn first team all-MWC honors. Nate Clem was the team's No. 8 runner at the `02 MWC meet, finishing 44th overall, while Timmie Murphy and Janice Tosa, then true freshmen, each scored for the Lobo women. Murphy finished 38th (23:25.7) while Tosa followed close behind in 39th (23:33.7).

LAST TIME OUT (at MWC Championships)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Junior Timmie Murphy and sophomore Leslie Luna each turned in the finest race of their careers, while senior Jacquelyne Gallegos battled through a hamstring injury to lead an unheralded University of New Mexico women's team to a second place finish at the Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships on Oct. 29 at the Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins, Colo. Picked fifth in the league's preseason coaches poll, New Mexico matched its highest finish ever at a conference meet as sixth-year head coach Matt Henry earned MWC Women's Coach of the Year honors.

Senior Cameron Clarke earned all-conference honors (second team) for the third time in his career, placing 11th as the Lobo men finished fifth in the team standings.

The New Mexico women were the story of the day, however, as the team finished as the conference runner-up for the fourth time in program history. UNM edged third place Colorado State, 74-75, while No. 8 BYU (28 points) won its seventh straight MWC crown.

The Lobos also placed second three times during their eight years in the High Country Athletic Conference, with the most recent occurring in 1986.

Murphy and Luna shocked the field of 66 in the women's race, finishing third and sixth respectively, to earn first team all-MWC honors for the first time in their careers. Both women recorded their highest finish in any cross country race and shattered their previous best 6,000-meter time.

Gallegos, meanwhile, turned in one of the most courageous races of her fine career, placing 10th with a time of 21:31.1 to earn second team all-MWC honors. The Pojoaque, N.M. native suffered a serious hamstring injury while warming up for the Oct. 8 Auburn Invitational and was initially feared to be lost for the rest of the season.

The Lobos also received fine performances from sophomore Lindsay Barr and senior Janice Tosa, who rounded out the team's scoring. After finishing 40th a year ago at the MWC meet, Barr placed 28th with a career-best time of 22:28.6. It was her highest finish in eight meets. Tosa, meanwhile, finished 32nd overall with a career-best time of 22:36.3. It was her best effort at the conference meet since placing 27th two years ago in Albuquerque.

Earlier in the men's 8K race, UNM received a solid effort from Clarke, who crossed the line in 25:03.3, but was unable to maintain its tight group running success. The pack spread between the Lobos' five scoring runners was 1:05.9, marking just the second time all season the spread has been over a minute. New Mexico finished with a score of 119, 11 points behind fourth place Wyoming.

Junior Juan Ortega ran second on the team as he notched the highest finish in his three conference meet appearances, placing 23rd overall with a time of 25:41.8. Sophomore Joseph Garcia improved 12 spots on his 2004 MWC meet performance, finishing 25th with a time of 25:45.6. Junior Steven Martinez also had his highest finish in three conference races, placing 29th with a time of 25:52.5. Senior Nate Clem capped the UNM scoring, finishing 36th overall (26:09.2).


New Mexico runners matched last year's program best by earning Mountain West Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week awards three times during the 2005 season. Senior Cameron Clarke was the most recent honoree as he took home the award for the first time in his five-year career after his performance at Auburn on Oct. 8. The Albuquerque Sandia product became the fifth different member of the UNM men's team to earn the weekly honor since the 2001 season.

On the women's side, the early season awards rolled in for Jacquelyne Gallegos as the UNM senior was named MWC Athlete of the Week twice during the season. Gallegos was the first Lobo runner, man or woman, ever to earn award twice in the same season and has been honored by the league three times in her career, the most of any UNM cross country runner. The Pojoaque, N.M. native won her first MWC Athlete of the Week award after finishing third at the 2004 Lobo Invitational and again this year after winning the New Mexico home meet. Gallegos' third place effort at Stanford earlier this season netted her the third and final AOW award of her career.


• The UNM women's team ran its streak to three years with at least one first team all-MWC honoree, while its three total all-conference runners were the most since 1988.

Matt Henry joined Cindy Schmandt as the only UNM cross country coaches to earn conference Women's Coach of the Year honors. Schmandt was honored after her team finished 2nd at the 1983 High Country Athletic Conference Championships with a score of 54, which is still the lowest in program history at a conference meet. Henry was previously recognized by the MWC in 2002 when he was named Men's Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year.

• Jacquelyne Gallegos' season-opening victory at the Lobo Invitational was the third by a UNM woman since head coach Matt Henry took over the program in the fall of 2000...Sarah Gonzales (2000-03) had the previous two wins...the Lobo men have notched 7 individual race victories under Henry, including a 4 last year...two-time UNM All-American Matt Gonzales has notched the most individual triumphs under Henry with 3 wins between 2001-04.

• Running cross country for the first time in two years, junior Timmie Murphy has been one of the biggest reasons for the success of the UNM women this fall...Murphy has finished among the top-20 in all 4 meets this season, shaving time off her 6K PR in each race...with senior leader Jacquelyne Gallegos slowed by a hamstring injury, she has shined as the Lobos' No. 1 runner, placing 7th at Auburn and 3rd at the MWC Championships...Murphy had placed no higher than 30th in her two previous MWC meet appearances before notching the best finish by a UNM woman at a conference meet since current UNM assistant Kelly Dunbar (formerly Kelly Dix) was third at the 1992 Western Athletic Conference Championships...she sliced over a minute off her personal record in the 6K, completing the course in 21:06.7...Murphy finished 12th at the Stanford Invite earlier in the season after placing 123rd in the same meet as a freshman in 2002...the Farmington, N.M. native redshirted the 2004 season as she recovered from leg and hip injuries suffered in training.

• Sophomore Leslie Luna is an easy choice for the team's Most Improved Runner honors...after scoring just once in 5 races last fall as a true freshman, Luna ran has been among the Lobos' top-5 in every meet this year, including a first team all-conference performance at the MWC Championships...the Albuquerque Academy product improved a remarkable 41 spots on her finish at the 2004 MWC meet and finished among the top-10 for the first time in 9 career races...her previous best had been 19th at this year's Lobo Invite...she crossed the finish line with a time of 21:17.3, nearly two minutes faster than her previous best 6K which she ran in the 2005 season-opener at the UNM North Golf Course.

• The 2005 UNM men's team have established themselves as perhaps the best group running units in head coach Matt Henry's tenure...in 4 varsity meets this fall, the average time difference between the first and fifth scoring runner has been 55 seconds...the top-5 were separated by a season-low 32 seconds in a second place finish at Auburn and have had a sub-minute spread twice this fall...last year's group had an average pack spread of 1:51...the 2003 Lobos were previously the tightest running group throughout the course of a season as the first and fifth runners finished an average of 55 seconds apart during the year, including a low of 19 seconds at a triangular meet in San Diego.

• Seven women and four men made their UNM cross country debuts at the Lobo Invite...junior transfer Roxann James ran seventh for the New Mexico women (58th overall), while redshirt sophomore Dylan Rose-Coss (6th UNM, 70th overall) and redshirt freshman Ezra Esquibel (7th UNM, 76th overall) cracked the Lobos' top-seven in their collegiate debuts...James has run in 4 meets this fall, finishing among the team's top-7 each time...Rose-Coss also ran 7th on the team at Stanford, while Esquibel was the team's No. 6 man at the MWC Championships.


University of New Mexico head coach Matt Henry has built the UNM program by using his greatest natural resource: New Mexico high school distance runners. Of the 42 men and women on the 2005 roster, all but seven are products of New Mexico high schools. Each of the Lobos' NCAA Championship competitors, All-Americans and all-Mountain West honorees during Henry's tenure has graduated from an in-state high school.