Sept. 10, 2005
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Fifth-year senior Jacquelyne Gallegos recorded her first collegiate victory to lead the University of New Mexico women to a strong third place finish in the talented 13-team field at the Lobo Invitational cross country meet this morning at the UNM North Golf Course. New Mexico also received strong races from junior Timmie Muprhy and sophomore Leslie Luna, helping the Lobos defeat Division II power Western State, Texas Tech, LSU and UTEP. Senior Cameron Clarke, meanwhile, led the new-look UNM men to a fifth place finish.
Top ranked Adams State, the two-time defending NCAA D-II champions, cruised to the team title, placing four runners in the top-7 and seven in the top-15 to defeat runner-up Colorado State 30-59. New Mexico had three runners finish in the top-20, leading the team to a score of 89 points. Western State College, which entered the meet ranked third in the D-II poll, finished fourth with 99 points. Texas Tech, the 2004 Lobo Invitational champions, was fifth with 108 points. The other two Division I teams in the field, LSU (224) and UTEP (243), were seventh and eighth, respectively.
Gallegos, who won all 11 meets, including the state championship race, during her senior year at Pojoaque High School, captured her first collegiate title in impressive fashion. The 5-8 Gallegos broke open a tight race midway through the 6,000-meter course and surged to a 26-second victory over Adams State College senior Victoria Martinez (22:03), a Division II All-American last fall. Gallegos was the first UNM woman to win the team's home meet since Sarah Gonzales' wire-to-wire victory at the Paradise Hills Golf Course in 2001.
Gallegos finished third at the Lobo Invitational last year and was the runner-up at the UNM home meet in 2002, one week before a serious car accident ended her season and nearly her career. The Lobos' All-America candidate finished 69th at the NCAA Championship meet last fall and was a first team all-Mountain West Conference honoree in her dramatic 2004 comeback season.
"That was really something special," New Mexico head coach Matt Henry said of Gallegos' victory. "That was the highlight of the day, but I'm so pleased with what our women were able to do as a team today. To finish third in this field - that's big for our program. Timmie ran maybe her best race for us and Leslie gave us probably our biggest lift. I'm really happy with their effort today."
Running her first cross country race in two years, Murphy placed 17th with a career-best 6K time of 23:13. The Farmington, N.M. native redshirted the 2004 season as she recovered from leg and hip injuries suffered in training. Luna, meanwhile, scored for the second time in six collegiate races, finishing 19th with a career-best time of 23:19. The Albuquerque Academy product was 35th in her collegiate debut at the 2004 Lobo Invite.
Senior Janice Tosa finished 29th with a time of 23:49, five seconds ahead of sophomore Lindsay Barr (23:54), who was 30th to cap the UNM scoring. Fellow sophomore Melanie Velarde turned in the best performance of her young career, finishing sixth on the team and 47th overall with a time of 24:40. Junior transfer Roxann James, an All-American at Central Arizona College last year, rounded out the Lobos' top-7 with a 58th place finish (24:56).
Meanwhile, on the men's side, New Mexico's scoring runners all crossed the line within 21 places of each other. Clarke, a fifth-year senior, paced the group with his 25th place finish (26:12), while junior Steven Martinez was 31st (26:25). Senior Nate Clem (26:38) and junior Juan Ortega (26:41) finished side-by-side in 39th and 40th place, respectively, while sophomore Joseph Garcia scored for the second time in his career by placing 46th (26:54). Redshirt sophomore Dylan Rose-Coss (70th - 27:49) and redshirt freshman Ezra Esquibel (76th - 27:59) cracked the team's top-7 in their Lobo debuts.
UTEP's Patrick Mutai won his second straight race to open the fall, crossing the line with a time of 24:28, 12 seconds ahead of the runner-up, teammate Stephen Samoei. The Adams State won the 14-team men's race, placing three runners in the top-10 to hold off rival Western State 44-62. Colorado State finished a close third (75), followed by UTEP (86), New Mexico (153), Texas Tech (170) and LSU (184).
Other UNM finishers included:
So. Sheyenne Lewis - 70th (25:17)
Fr. Yesenia Archuleta - 71st (25:19)
So. Stasia Ploskonka - 89th (26:29)
Fr. Carolyn Romero - 97th (26:55)
Fr. Ally Gronager - 98th (26:56)
Fr. Allison Easton - 108th (28:05)
Fr. Hilary Ross - 111th (28:18)
Sr. Jaime Hall - 116th (28:36)
Fr. Becky Green - 117th (28:37)
Jr. Brandi Cron - 118th (28:45)